The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Gathering of Old People


I was chatting long distance with an old friend, Sue, yesterday in preparation for a trip I am taking. I say old friend because I have known her since 1974. That's 35 years in human time. We met at work when she was transferred into the switch office I was working in. We worked together for the next 12 years. But we also shared our personal lives, heartaches and headaches, joys and triumphs. She was one of the few who tolerated my angry outbursts and understood the reasons. That's what real friends do.

The reason I called her was to touch base about about our mutual friend. I had lost his phone number and also needed his address. We chatted for a bit and she brought up an observation that hit me where it hurts... age.

She was talking about visiting with this mutual friend and how she, he, and a couple of others had all piled into her car to go out for a bite. She realized it was a car full of old people. Then she began to talk about how we used to go out and do things, we had parties, we went to sporting events (baseball, mostly), to picnics, and such and how we played jokes on each other at work and that now we were a bunch of old people who sat around and talked about what we used to do.

The reason it hit me so hard is because it is true. On Tuesdays, Faye and I go to dinner with some mutual friends. There are anywhere from 10 to 14 of us, 12 this time. We were at the local Outback restaurant this past Tuesday and occupying two tables pushed together. As we chatted about golf, politics, local gossip, and the weather, I realized that we were a bunch of old people.

I looked around and there we were, the men gray and balding, the women also gray but not balding. Paunched and dressed in comfortable clothes. Having drinks and offering opinions, talking about grown children and almost grown grandchildren. And it hit me... we were a gaggle of old farts talking loudly and annoying (or amusing) the young folks around us.

I also realized it was much different than when I was young. We sat around then and talked about all these things (well, not grandchildren) but the things we chatted about were more recent events; places we had just been to, adventures we were anticipating. We didn't talk about things we had done way in the past, more about what we wanted to do in the future. People we wanted to meet, places we wanted to go, things we wanted to do. We didn't talk about people we knew who had died or were dying.

And that brought Sue and I back to the reason for my trip. I am on my way to see my old friend German' before the pancreatic cancer takes him. I am on a trip into my past, to say goodbye, to apologize for the wrongs I did him, to thank him for being a friend by ignoring and forgiving them. To relive old times, both good and bad. To reminisce. To remember other old friends. Mostly, to thank him for enriching my life and tell him he will be missed.

I am leaving Sunday morning on the saddest journey of my life.


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5 comments:

The Grandpa said...

How fortunate you are to be able to go see your old friend.

How fortunate he is that you will go see him.

We are never old as long as we have our memories.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

And that's what happens Douglas, it sneaks up from behind and grabs us by the short and curlies, painfully. We suddenly realise that we are old, that we are the old people that we used to sneer at when we were in our heyday.

It is non-the-less painful when it comes to say our goodbyes, or pay our last respects to those with whom we have shared our lives.

In the end we have our memories and that is one of our greatest treasures, that is something we have that youth does not.

Enjoy your trip and time with your friend, you are lucky that you have this time.

AV

Douglas said...

Grandpa - I am fortunate to know him.

AV - It is good, for me, that I have this time. I intend to make the best of it. Like me, I suspect his goal was to live a full life to age 90 and then die in his sleep. But we don't get to choose, do we?

The Jules said...

It's good to have lived a life that is worth reflecting upon, although unfair to have to leave it too soon.

Hope the trip is a good one, Douglas.

Douglas said...

Grandpa - I am fortunate to know him.

AV - It is good, for me, that I have this time. I intend to make the best of it. Like me, I suspect his goal was to live a full life to age 90 and then die in his sleep. But we don't get to choose, do we?