Friday my high school class gathered. It was our 40th reunion and having recently moved back to the area I was savoring the chance to reconnect.
A group of seven friends, all men gathered prior to the reunion for a ‘beverage of choice’. Our wives had been largely uninterested in accompanying us and truth be told it was a time for the ‘boy’ in each of us to play.
In deference to our growing up in Rhode Island we hoisted a Narragansett Beer and toasted our friendship. We remembered our great friend Larry who succumbed to cancer a year ago and who was with us in spirit. We looked around our circle and gave thanks for the gift of being together.
At this age we no longer have much to prove, to ourselves or others. Several of us have stayed close friends over the years, we’ve attended each others wedding, laid to rest parents, celebrated births and watched each others children grow up. We’ve walked with each other through health issues and a few divorces.
We’ve lived long enough to know that friendship, particularly those with some mileage on the odometer are not to be taken for granted. So we toasted each other, re-told old stories and made plans for future adventures.
In one of my favorite films, ‘Waking Ned Devine’, two elderly men are looking back on their friendship, one character named Jackie says: “When we laughed together we grew younger.” On the night of our reunion we toasted one another and marveled at how quickly the years have gone. We shared hopes and plans for the next chapter in our lives. And as we laughed together we watched an amazing transformation, at least for a moment, we grew younger.