MAKE NEW FRIENDS, BUT KEEP THE OLD;Joseph Parry
THOSE ARE SILVER, THESE ARE GOLD.
NEW-MADE FRIENDSHIPS, LIKE NEW WINE,
AGE WILL MELLOW AND REFINE.
FRIENDSHIPS THAT HAVE STOOD THE TEST
TIME AND CHANGE ARE SURELY BEST;
BROW MAY WRINKLE, HAIR GROW GRAY,
FRIENDSHIP NEVER KNOWS DECAY.
FOR ‘MID OLD FRIENDS TRIED AND TRUE,
ONCE MORE WE OUR YOUTH RENEW.
BUT OLD FRIENDS, ALAS MAY DIE,
NEW FRIENDS MUST THEIR PLACE SUPPLY.
CHERISH FRIENDSHIP IN YOUR BREAST
NEW IS GOOD, BUT OLD IS BEST;
MAKE NEW FRIENDS, BUT KEEP THE OLD;
THOSE ARE SILVER, THESE ARE GOLD.
Last week I was walking across the stage in the gymnasium of my high school accepting my diploma, along with the 79 others who were in my graduating class. This weekend, some of those same people were celebrating the 50-year anniversary of that event.
Or at least, that’s how it feels. As the song goes, the days go slow and years go fast.
Bill and I drove back to the town of my birth and formative years, Columbus, Nebraska, this past weekend. For many years, I referred to Columbus as my home town. Finally, I realized that I had lived in Denver, Colorado, for many more years than I ever lived in Columbus. Still, to coin a phrase, you can take the girl out of the small town but you can’t take the small town out of the girl.
Forty-one of us attended the 50th reunion. That is a very good percentage, especially given that 10 people out of my class have passed away over the years. That appears to be better attendance than most. As we passed the microphone around at the banquet, one of my classmates told us that the Class of 1972 is envied by other classes for our strong sense of comradery and, well frankly, love for one another. He was the smartest one in our class, so I’m sure he was telling the truth.
At our 10-year reunion, everyone was talking about their youngsters and their careers. At the 30-year reunion, everyone was talking about their grown-up kids. At this reunion, focus was on figuring out how to live a life without any of these things. Winding down, so to speak. Oh, and a lot of talk about grandkids. There were even one or two people who had great grandkids.
I would say that the majority of my classmates still live in Nebraska. Many live in Lincoln or Omaha. Several have moved to smaller communities — many on lakes — where they can enjoy a peaceful life. Some moved to Colorado. The furthest anyone traveled was from California. No matter where any of us ended up, I don’t think it would take long for a stranger talking to us to suspect we grew up in the midwest.
That’s because midwestern people ROCK. I’m partial to Nebraska, of course. However, I’m sure the same could be said about people who grew up in Iowa or Kansas or any other midwestern state. We’re honest. We’re friendly. We work hard. We love our country. We are respectful of others.
We love football. It was fun to see that despite the number of years it has been since the University of Nebraska has had a decent football team, there are still Big Red flags flying. People drive red cars. The streets empty out when Nebraska is playing on the television. It so happened that the first game of the Nebraska football season was being played in Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday. (I don’t know why. I don’t care why.) Everyone watched the game. Everyone mourned the team’s first loss, hoping that wasn’t indicative of the season. It probably is.
We all have changed. It’s inevitable. But it was uncanny how I could still recognize people despite our aging. Sometimes it would take a minute. When I figured it out, I would think, “Well, OF COURSE, that’s blah blah blah. He looks just the same, except with wrinkles.”