Today is the birthday of Colin “the General” “Gin & Juice” Gilbert – a friend of mine from an ancient era…
He and I go waaaaaay back… all the way back to late grade-school (Junior High, to be precise), where we first forged a friendship within the iconoclastic “nerd herd” clique that prided itself on the never-ending sorties of shenanigans, tom-foolery, and ballyhoo – which drove more than one teaching professional into an early retirement. “When we was young – oh man, did we have fun…”
Growing closer in the latter parts of our high school matriculation both as the prosecuting legal team of our Civics class “mock trial” (we totally won that case, by the way) as well as on the sacred Gridiron of our Alma Mater. Happy Croteau Land and the hallowed Four-Way. Tecmo Bowl tournaments and Insanity Strikes Again. “Math Camp Murders” and Theatre Arts melodramas.
However, our friendship (like so much of one`s own youth) gradually faded into the background of noisy early-adult lives, hanging-out only from time to time during the numerous scattershot sessions of street basketball.
Soon, it was only present in that gaseous state of rumor and hearsay.
Yeah… gradually, the “old gang” goes its separate ways – some get jobs, some go to college, some marry, some move away, some find (or lose) themselves in the “real” world, some “get religion” and scare all the others away… some have children, mortgages, bald spots, pot-bellies, and so forth. We lose touch or we move on, putting our pasts behind us – leaving each other, and that part of ourselves, behind. “Alone, we stand – together, we fall apart.”
In spite of this, sometimes old familiars can come back and rediscover each other, and forge a friendship anew – built not upon the ghosts of the past, but upon the common accords of new days. Perhaps, in this case, the newfound friendship is even stronger than the former – for, it is not built upon the circumstantial happenstance of a shared public-school sentence but of a mature respect for one another as men. Remembering, but not dwelling upon, old times and fond memories.
“…I seem to recognize your face.
Haunting, familiar – yet, I can`t seem to place it.
Cannot find the candle of thought to light your name…”
Yes… it is so.
To this, I raise my chalice and toast my old friend`s health – upon this, the occasion of his twenty-ninth year.
Colin, may the LORD grant you many more, my friend, and may I live to see them well-spent.