The Age of Friends

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Just exactly when do friends become “old friends?” Every day we get a little older, but that’s not the kind of age that defines these friends of ours. It’s the difference between having friends, and having friends that have always been there in some capacity through the years. The kind that can pick up where things were left off the last time you were together, and each and every time you catch up it brings a smile to everyone’s face. You can see by the expressions on the faces of these old friends that this is real and genuine and the laughter is from the heart. We all have friends that aren’t necessarily in our lives every day, but it’s always a smile and a hug that brings those good feelings of “old friends” to us whenever we are together.

Over the years, our world evolves into routines and patterns that are hard to break. It’s those old friends that take us back to the beginning and remind us of who we are and who we have always been. And just as some things never change, they show us the friendship that we built is still capable of supporting the weight of the world that is adulthood. Conversation is effortless and humor is found in the strangest places, and a few hours can make up for years without contact. But we don’t worry, because old friends understand that catching up is part of the deal. No grudges, no ill-feelings and plenty of trust. Old friends “just know.”

Old friends are a feeling. A feeling inside us that can’t be replaced with anything else – as there is nothing that can take the place of an old friend.  Try to describe an old friend in words and it might sound like love, trust, understanding and happiness. But words can’t say it all and there is no definite description to someone this close to us as each one holds a special place near and dear in our hearts. Old friends just happen and there is no stopping it. Not everyone is an old friend to us, but everyone becomes an old friend to someone. We don’t pick and choose these special people in our lives, they are placed there. Paths cross and personalities click and it happens in an instant. And then an old friend is made – for life.

Rolling Over

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New Year’s Eve to me is like sitting in the back seat of the Plymouth Fury as a young boy, hardly big enough to see over the bench seat in front of me. You remember – vinyl seats, crank windows and the am radio playing KFDI 1070 Country with Don Williams singing in the background. Looking back on those days, it was actually kind of nice to have someone driving me around while I observed the world passing by from the back seat. I surely wasn’t buckled in, so the back seat was this giant playground, at least until things got out-of-hand. That’s when dad would shut down the shenanigans, at least for a while.

But just like New Year’s Eve and the count-down to the ball dropping, when the odometer would be close to a milestone of flipping over to say 70,000 miles, we would all hop up to put our chins on the back of the front seat and count down the miles. 69,995! 69,996! Unlike the count-down to the ball dropping, as you can imagine this took several minutes. And if you were actually driving through town, you could expect it to take longer. But wait for it…69,999 and….70,000!! A loud cheer and it was over for another year or so, and we went about our daily business. Always kind of a big deal back then, I still find myself watching the odometer click over. We didn’t make any odometer resolutions, but in some small way it did put a mark on the year. An ending and a new beginning all at the same time! It was exciting, we had a small celebration and it made us happy. What more could you ask for? Maybe an oil change.

For most of us, the new year indicates the beginning of what we hope will be a good one. We put the bad behind us and as we look ahead, we hope to be better people and make a difference in those around us. While you celebrate your odometer rolling over, remember those who are no longer with us and those who have just joined the party. Carry the feeling of a new beginning with you throughout the year and make a difference in someone’s life. Smile more and laugh a lot. Or at least until Ralph puts and end to the shenanigans!

Happy New Year!