Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Friends

In a few days I will be putting away my winter wardrobe and transitioning into lighter weight fabric more suitable for the promised spring weather. I will say good-bye to my heavy corduroy coats, but I will hang on to my two pair of corduroy pants through the change in seasons. 

The first pair is more formal - cuffed and pleated, olive colored in which one might have sipped a martini. The second one is casual and mustard color – more likely seen around a fire where hotdogs were roasted. However, they are now restricted to private affairs within the property, as they are thread bare and tired looking.  Still, they are comfortable and great for any task around the farm.  In them, I can follow E.B. White’s advice and split an infinitive as easily as a stick of round cordwood.

We can argue politely about whether corduroy coats or pants are fashionable, but there was a time when I had several pair of Levi corduroys pants in colors from beige to burgundy; it was the mid-seventies and almost everyone was wearing them – at least my friends were.

My brother, Dan, older by three grades, often remarked how unusual it was that I had such a large group of close friends. Depending on the year, there have been anywhere from fifteen to twenty of us with varying degrees of comradery among and within the group.

While most of us still live within a few gallons of gas of our hometown, Belle Plaine, we still stay in touch; we call, we text, email, write and see each other. We work at it, because even though we have our church friends, work friends, friends of friends, friends of the family, Facebook friends, and people we are friendly with, we know you can’t replace a friend you have had since childhood.

I could write a book about these guys and the things we have shared – and I probably should, but until then here a few words of appreciation if you don’t mind, because these guys are still my friends after over forty years; I’m not really sure why, as I can be difficult and trying.

I owe these guys much; some of them I owe my life, others I probably owe money. Every time we see each other it’s like being in the halls of school again with only minutes having passed instead of months and years. I am thankful that they have stuck with me; I do not know what I would have done without them through all these years.

Gentleman, I would love to list you all by name but there are obvious risks in doing so. I may have misunderstood our relationship; you may not like me in that way – and I would subject us both to public humiliation and scorn, and secondly I may have mistakenly left out someone because I am too stupid to remember their name.

Fashions come and go, clothes that once fit no longer do, but my old friends remain comfortable and will never be replaced no matter the season.

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