It seems the older one gets the less new friendships he has. Most adult friendships develop early in life when the kids are small. I have many of those deep friendships. We moved away and left my friends behind, but our friendships remain intact and when we meet on occasions, we pick up where we left off. Once kids grow up and after moving several times, new friendships do not bloom as often.
In my mid-sixties, I am fortunate to have new friend. Well, our friendship isn’t brand new. My friend and I have been acquainted for several years. He lives around the block and a few times a month I see him when he passes in front of my house, walking his two little dogs. When I am out front, doing yardwork or enjoying a beverage he stops for a moment and we talk—Not deep conversations, but we have hit it off. Like older guys do, we joke, talk about our health, make small talk; nothing deep. But the friendship developed.
My friend and I could not be further apart in our background. He grew up on the east coast, New York. I like New Yorkers. They are articulate and straight-forward. I am from the left coast, California. Often I am indirect and can’t find the right words. He’s a hard driver and I am more laid back. I am uncertain about our political differences, but I am sure they differ. During the presidential primary I voiced my approval for voting for Trump. He smiled and wasn’t as vocal, perhaps trying to preserve our fledgling friendship. I like guns; he appears to not like them. He once said in passing, “Nothing good comes from owning a gun.” We are different since I believe in the hands of a good and responsible person, lots of good can come from gun ownership. He has a fast-brand-new Dodge Challenger (lucky guy), I have a 12-year-old Nissan truck, with a chip in the windshield. As for spiritual things, we may be different. He knows I am a pastor. He does not appear to be a bumper sticker guy. I have one that says Jesus Saves. He curses, I don’t (full disclosure: I try not to!).
Yes, we are different, but he is my friend and I am better for it.
My friend and I are alike too. We are both about the same age. I enjoy pointing out he has a few years on me. He takes care of his home, and I try to do the same. When there is a problem in our neighborhood he addresses it and tries to fix it. Me too. We both like mild sarcasm. He and his wife like Butterfish Poke Bowls. We do too! He is the president of a company and I am a former president of a company. He’s a dog lover, I am also, although I am happy we do not own one right now.
One day about a year ago my friend walked by my house and saw me unloading my golf clubs from my truck. “Are those golf clubs I see?!” “Do you golf?” I asked. “Occasionally.” “Well, we will need to golf someday.” If that happened, it would have been the first time our friendship moved from my sidewalk to another venue, the golf course.
It happened—a few months ago. We played 18 holes. Oh, and that’s another difference: He is a good golfer, I am not. He says he is lousy but underestimates his game. He can chip a shot with one arm and get the ball pin high. We played again this week. He gives me pointers on the course which I appreciate. He told me I shouldn’t listen to someone who has a messed-up game (except he did not say messed-up). But I listen anyway and he’s taught me a lot.
My friend is not a Jew but in his teenage years he was a caddy at a Jewish country club. He liked the tips, he told me. One day he caddied for two men—Their bags slung over his shoulders. He had on his white Converse high-tops, no traction. It was early in the morning and the dew was heavy on the grass. He had no problem carrying the clubs but he stumbled as his feet slipped on the way up a hill. “If this is how it’s going to be all morning, you can just head back into the clubhouse and caddy for someone else!” one of the Jewish men snapped. “No, I can do it” my friend said. “It’s just a little dew and it’ll be okay.” He slipped again, and the man exclaimed “That’s it, you can drop the clubs and leave!” My friend said, “No problem!” He gently set down the other man’s clubs and then picked up the contentious player’s bag in both hands and threw it down the hill. The clubs exploded from the bag and slid down the dewy hill. He never caddied again.
See, that is a New Yorker, and that is my friend.