I got a call from an old friend of mine Tuesday evening. He was planning on passing through the area and asked if I’d be available for a while Wednesday evening to visit. “Well, yeah,” I told him. “If you’re willing to drive a bit out of your way, I’d love to see you.”
And so it was that I spent a couple of hours as the day faded yesterday, reminiscing and remembering and doing a bit of catching up.
I’ve heard people talk for years about how it is with good friends, how it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you talked, you just seem to pick up right where you left off and move on. Yep, it was like that.
It was both familiar and reassuring to see him sitting on the couch, talking about people we both knew from long ago. “Do you remember so-and-so?” he’d ask and we’d take off on another old familiar path rambling off from Memory Lane. We shared memories about old folks and kids we’d known when we were growing up. We swapped stories about stuff that was going on in our lives now. We told jokes and even discussed a news item or two. The conversation continued as I took him on a tour of the Cowley Campus.
He was as impressed as I had been on my first tour. I took him into the Brown Center and showed him our theatre. It still impresses me every time I look at it; it’s not what you’d expect to find on a small college campus in southern Kansas. Paul admired some of the pictures of the seventy-plus annual Queens of Arkalala. As we were walking through Galle-Johnson, he noticed the clean walls and shiny floors and commented, “Boy, you sure have some good custodians here, don’t you?” I cheerfully agreed. Indeed we do. We have all sorts of good people here in Ark City.
I showed him my office and introduced him to one of my colleagues who was working late. We chatted for a few minutes and then headed back out to the car. “Well,” he drawled, “reckon I better be getting on my way.”
We sat outside the house for a few more minutes, then shook hands and said our goodbyes. I don’t know when I’ll see him again but I do know it will be good when I do. Won’t matter if it’s next week, next year or next century. We’ll be glad to see each other. There’ll be a comforting familiarity and we’ll both have big grins on our faces. We’ll embrace one another and be thankful for the privilege of association. We won’t worry about who’s got what or who can get there the fastest. We’ll just be glad to be together.
Kind of sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?