Old and New Friends

Last weekend, the family took a trip to Charlotte. While there, we took the time to meet up with an old friend I knew back in my Army days. We met him at the restaurant he manages, and this is my take-away.

The place was packed as usual on a Saturday evening. While waiting for a seat, we were standing next to a wall trying to stay out of the way of traffic. I noticed an older couple with their elderly mother waiting to be seated as well. I gave up my place next to the wall to make room for the mother. Doing so, the gentleman introduced himself to me. For the next few minutes we conversed like old friends. Having this type of conversation is rare for me, and this was really a treat. I will most likely never see this man again in my life, but it will be a long time before I forget our short chat.

Once seated, we finally got the moment the catch up with my friend. As mentioned before, the restaurant was really busy. In snatches of free moments, he came by, sat down, and the next portion of our conversation resumed. We spoke about all the usual stuff that friends who haven’t seen each other in almost twenty years would be speak about. After dinner, I walked out of the restaurant truly grateful that we took the time to stop by.

Reflecting back on the evening, these are the things that stood out for me:

  • Smile to strangers and take the time to say hello. You never know what good things might come from such a small gesture.
  • Part of the joy in reconnecting with an old friend is to see how well that friend is doing. The years have a way of deteriorating the mind and the body. To see someone who is still able mentally and physically with a spark in their eyes and warmth in their soul is something none of us should take for granted. Though this night I did not drink to his health, that was my truest wish.

I didn’t get home until late that night and missed a text from another friend. I woke up the next morning to see “I need to hear from you” showing on my phone. When I got the chance to call Monday morning, I received some more good news. This friend, now sober for 9 days, was wanting to catch me up on her progress. She seems to really be on the right track in life, and I can’t wait to see her progress in the future.

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