Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Out of the blue!

Earlier this evening I received a telephone call from an ancient - though long disregarded - friend. We go back about 35 years; and we have in our repertoire a history of youthful exploits and sometimes unprecedented laughter.  The call was entirely unexpected and quite out of the blue.  Pointedly the call was an invitation to dine with him (and others) and another mutual old friend (visiting from Nova Scotia) whom I have not seen for more years than I can recall. The gathering is proposed for two days hence.  I did not hesitate to accept in spite of the host having offered the excuse to do so by proclaiming more than once his apologies for calling on such short notice.  It is a mark of the depth of a venerable relationship that it willingly reignites at a moment's notice!

Though I am exceedingly animated by this unforeseen prospect I am either superannuated or jaundiced enough to admit that the event is likely to come and go without any lingering modification of what has obviously been our corporate and negligent stewardship of the friendship for the past many years. Nonetheless it inspires me to know that in spite of the apparent demise of the friendship it has clearly just sunk temporarily to the bottom of the pond and is now rising again to the surface for another (and possibly the last) breath.

Unquestionably a reacquaintance of this order instantly promotes the drama and curiosity of quizzing one another about what has transpired over the decades.  What however preserves the authenticity of the enquiry - and the prevention of it becoming either saccharin or maudlin - is the guarantee that the sharing of knowledge will be riddled with robust insinuation and unalloyed punishment. No one will escape the comic criticism of what is otherwise heartfelt passion. In addition the reunion affords the comfortable opportunity to dilute what are clearly now long-forgotten reasons for the persistent and unreplenished separation.  Seemingly the recapitulation of sentiments requires considerable duration and associated mollification.  But as I say the acid test continues to be the lowest possible common denominator; namely, genuine camaraderie and mutual affection. Never has there been the vulgarity of commercial or economic association to plague the strength or survival of the alliance.  The more probable source of waning correspondence is merely cooling connections, differences of opinion and the imposition and interference of other unrelated pressures and choices.

The time has therefore come to rejuvenate the erstwhile brotherhood. Given what is now indisputably my own advanced age it would be inconceivable to respond other than with at least a degree of dignity. Though I owe the posture to myself as well as others, I can tell you that I haven't a shred of hesitation about relishing the latitude. There has been far too much water under the bridge to engage in anything but honest production. It is too late - and perhaps more dangerously so than any one of us realizes - to squander the chance for anything other than forthright communication.

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