Last Monday being a holiday (and myself being in Old Home), I reached out to Uisdean Ruadh, my long-time friend (Freshman in high school long-time) to see about breakfast. I was off and - due to his work as a contractor to the government - he was also off.
We did whatever old friends do when they get together on a day off and in the morning - we went to breakfast. In the midst of our omelets, fried potatoes (hash browns for him, home fries for me), toast and coffee, we chatted about our New Year's plans/resolutions/good ideas/"things we are going to do this year".
After packing down said omelet/potatoes/toast/coffee, we were on way up the street when I suggested calling The Actor, my other long-time friend (Freshman in high school long-time) as he was also off and had suggested we give him a call after breakfast. Sure enough, he was back home after shopping - why did not we stop by for a visit?
We did indeed stop by. What then evolved was a rather long (3 plus) hour conversation that covered a variety of topics - catching up on the goings-on of families and children for sure, but other subjects as well, a sort of meandering conversation the way one sees a stream spread out over low land: going somewhere, but not really in a hurry to get there. We walked his property, him discussing the improvements he had been making, me suggesting "Hey, you should put a swale in here!" and him responding "We were thinking of doing that very thing!". The day was the sort of Winter-Spring day that one could only hope to desire: the sun warm, the air with the hint of chill (it is still January, after all), and everything the green of pre-Spring that will start to brown by April and slowly work its way up the mountain until in June, our places look alike.
After the walk, Uisdean Ruadh and retired back to Old Home (literally "Old Hometown" Old Home") where we had our usually Friday-customary frozen yogurt loaded up with various and sundries, almost burying the yogurt itself beneath a wash of sugar that would make a 10 year old's eye light up. Sitting out in the slowly descending sun and increasingly cool breeze, we discussed books and movies: the nature of good stories and good story telling, the need for antagonists that are strong, and why it seem so many franchises were failing.
It struck me, after I dropped Uisdean Ruadh back off at home and was making my way back, what a rare occurrence this was.
I cannot remember the last time I was able to stop by The Actor's and have a conversation that did not seem rushed with time. I cannot remember the last time I lingered over breakfast with anyone - it always seems that things are "breakfast and then...". I cannot remember the last time that I simply had a day where the point of the day was being with people to talk, and nothing more.
It is customary, I suppose, to people of my generation and older to lament the loss of "The Visit", be it the Sunday afternoon drive to nowhere with family or the random stopping by of friends and family. The point of getting together with people so often now is to "do" something, be it a meal or an activity or to go somewhere else for a meal and activity. Conversation happens more often as a by-product of, not a reason for.
But this day, there was none of that. We almost completely eschewed - other than brief messaging - the use of electronics. We had no set activities or agendas. It was first two, and then three, old friends getting together to talk as we always have and seemingly too often do not have the time to do so of late.
I suppose I could insert any number of items here about the current state of friendships or the impact of Social Media or any of fifty things that will make me sound like a grumbling Oldster trying to make a point that really is as obvious as it is unsolvable. Too often many - myself included - try to make object lessons instead of simply enjoying what is.
In that spirit I can say is this: I have not enjoyed a day spent with friends more in a very long time.