Old Friends Are Irreplaceable

Can you imagine us
Years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy

Old friends
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear

Time it was,
And what a time it was
It was . . .
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago . . . it must be . . .
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you

(excerpt from Simon and Garfunkel’s song, Old Friends)

Today I met two old friends (shown above two decades ago) to celebrate the 69th birthday of the friend on the right. I am in the center of the photo. The friend on the left will turn 70 in a month. We meet every several months to celebrate one another’s birthday, and on other spontaneous occasions.

I wish I could say our friendship has lasted since our freshman college days, but there was a hiatus of about 20 years when I was not in contact with the other two; however, they remained in contact with each other. A 25th reunion of our college class brought us into contact with each other, and we’ve been together again ever since.

There are not that many things that improve with age, but friendship definitely does if it lasts this long. I see no end in sight for our friendship, other than the inevitable. Today at lunch we talked about how a 70th birthday definitely sets some boundaries on what can transpire in the future; the end is almost in sight. The flip side is that we also agreed that time has never flown faster than in recent years. The days seem to slip through our fingers. This is an unforeseen disadvantage of age: how quickly time passes.

We have now seen ourselves get boyfriends and lose them; marry and, in one case, divorce and remarry; raise families; hold down engaging careers; attend the funerals of members of each other’s families; watch grown children enter and leave college, and, in two cases, start their own families and have their own children. Now we are all retired and watching ourselves enter this final, glorious, challenging stage of life…as old friends.

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5 thoughts on “Old Friends Are Irreplaceable”

  1. How lucky you are to have friendships that have seen the test of time. Unusual I think. You must have chosen each other well. Simon and Garfunkel’s lyrics are a perfect fit for this slice.

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  2. There is nothing like old friends. They are like a comfortable pair of shoes that you keep going back to. I have recently connected with some friends I went to college with. Even though we haven’t seen each other in 30 years we just picked up where we left off. Now we make it a point to meet for lunch once a month. How wonderful.

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