Here's to Us (Who's Like Us?)


I went to see the Sondheim play "Merrily We Roll Along" this weekend (which is a story in itself), but I remember how much I love the song "Old Friends."  Charlie sings:

So, old friends,
Fill me in slow, old friends —
Start from hello, old friends,
I want the when, where and how.
Old friends do
Tend to become old habit —
Never knew
How much I missed you till now.

It's weird to remember old family friends from when I was young.  I recall one family, the Hamiltons.  The mom, Darlene, was the secretary at the church where my dad pastored (we named one of our dogs after her, for some odd reason).  She had a son, Todd, who was always really nice to my little brother.  We have a picture of Todd mowing the lawn on a big John Deere tractor, a three-year-old Sam sitting on his lap, pretending to drive.

I remember the Russell family.  Judy Russell was my Kindegarten teacher.  She was a tough old bird, and expected the very best, even of a class of five-year-olds.  She passed away from cancer when I was in third grade, leaving behind her three boys, who are still friends of the family to this day.  I always had an easy friendship with the middle boy, Rusty, even though he was a few years older than I.  He'd write me letters when I first went to college, his handwriting neat, almost looking typewritten, evenly spaced, perfect.

The Landis family was barely a family when they first began hanging out with my parents.  It was just Greg and Elizabeth at first, a young couple, he an optometrist, she a graduate student, studying French.  When they had their first child, Caroline, I felt like she was my niece more than a "friend of the family."  She was born with an extra pinky (really), which we learned was not altogether uncommon for babies.  Elizabeth was scandalized, Greg fascinated.  The extra digit was easily removed once Caroline was old enough to have minor surgery.

So, the moral?

Life is fun(nier)--People enrich our lives, as much as our experiences.  I haven't seen or talked to some of the people above for years, but I remember how they changed me or made me laugh (I still chuckle at an epic battle between Rusty and I, where I chased him maniacally with a wiffle ball bat.)

Getting Honest--Well, to be truthful, I'm pretty horrible at staying in touch.  I'll occasionally miss someone and then I'm like, "meh."  It's bad, I know.

Doing the Right Thing--Oh, I dunno...I suppose staying IN TOUCH with people would be the Right Thing?  Or maybe I'm just not good at that, but I can work to foster a community with the people I know and love now.

Meh, sleepy.