Friday, September 25, 2009

Old Friends

It's been a friendly week. Monday, an old college buddy arrived from South Africa, via Minneapolis, with her husband and as-yet-unborn son. That of course occassioned a mini-reunion of the UD Class of '91.

And even though not all of our lives have been unalloyed joy over the past nearly two decades, reconnecting was.

Wednesday, I drove to Austin and spent time with Patrick, and my sister, and met Jesse Sublett for coffee and Jon Dee for music; at the Continental Club I ran into more old friends.

Last night, Danny Paschall and his lovely partner Lindsey landed on our doorstep and we all drove down to Greenville for a Bob Schneider show, where we hung out with yet more old friends.

"Old," is, of course, relative. I've known Angela since 1972, and I'm so proud to call her a friend today. Carrie and I enjoyed (and I do mean enjoyed) our first date in 1984. Danny and I have adventured together in nearly a dozen different countries over the past ... gosh, 14 years now? We still can sit and talk until 5 a.m.

I've known Shannon and Il Duplicates more than half my life.

Other friends are of more recent vintage, but I have a feeling they'll stick: Sweet, stylish, smart Molly, for instance. She soldiered through the Jon Dee show Wed. and will be our houseguest next weekend. And Hermann, and not just because he's part and parcel of the Shannon experience.

One thing I've learned over the past four decades is that true friendship takes time, and it takes work, and because of that I've grown ever more discriminating in whom I attempt that with.

It might just be laziness.

But old friends, the ones with whom a connection -- 20 years or two years in the making -- is true and strong, make that work a pleasure.

And for that, today, I'm very grateful.

William Butler Yeats wrote this:

Though you are in your shining days,
Voices among the crowd
And new friends busy with your praise,
Be not unkind or proud,
But think about old friends the most:
Time's bitter flood will rise,
Your beauty perish and be lost
For all eyes but these eyes.