Last night, the last day of September, 2009, I was pleased to meet an old friend for dinner. My friend Mike lives in Minneapolis but came to Salt Lake yesterday to visit an ailing uncle. I have only seen Mike a handful of times in the last 30 years. We met, became acquainted and ultimately became friends in high school. We played football together, we were in the chorus and the Madrigals together and on a couple of occasions sang duets while playing the guitar. As he said last night, "we hung out together".
After high school Mike went to the Air Force Academy and then served our country as a fighter pilot for 15 years. He has been a commercial airline pilot since his retirement from the Air Force. Mike was always a smart, kind, hard working person who set his goals and achieved them. I have always been proud of him.
I arrived at the restaurant first and after a few minutes at my table I looked up to see him walking toward me with the same smile and clear eyes he had in high school. We talked of common experiences, old friends and old memories. We talked about each of our divorces and remarriages. He described what it felt like to pilot an F-15 fighter jet. As we talked of things past and present, it was hard to believe that we had seen each other only four or five times in the last 30 years but yet, there was no gulf or awkwardness from our divergent paths in life and our separation in time and space.
We spent two hours together but it seemed like only a few minutes. As I left the restaurant and walked to my car in the light rain and cold night air, I thought of how integral friendships are to the fabric of our lives. As I drove home, I thought back on the last 38 years. The friends I had, the friends I have. How we have shared in each other’s joys and sorrows.
Our lives are not measured by momentous or thundering occasions and events, rather our lives our measured by the ever quickening daily activities that we engage in. Work, families, friends, errands, chores, yard work, recreation and the little things that we do each day shape us and become the history of our lives. Most folks won't invent some wonderful product or write a meaningful book or paint a revered painting. We will just get up, go to work and come back home. We will just fill in our spare time with the simple pleasures of life and trying to bettter ourselves, our families and our friends.
Hug your family, hug your friends, they are what life is about.
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