Sunday, December 15, 2013

MY friends

I've mentioned two guy friends of mine quite a bit.  They are brothers.  Brothers I met one summer, the summer I turned 20.  One turned 19 that summer, the other 16.

Brothers I'm still friends with today.  Of course, there was a gap in there.  This friendship was from the "pre-internet" days.  The only way you kept in touch, well, was to write letters or call someone.  Heaven forbid, actually, pick up the phone.  But it was LONG distance to call (meaning it would have cost money).  And, really, what would we have said?

We went on with our lives.  Their parents did come to my wedding.  (Their dad worked with my dad).  But that was really it.

I remember hearing from my dad that their dad had a heart attack.  That was probably 10 or so years ago.  I sent a card to their mom.  I could have asked her for their phone numbers or address.  But, once again, what do you say?

A couple of years after that, I was online - still before there was a Facebook - there was a place called "Myspace".  It's still around, I think, but now it is more of a place to find new bands.  (I think - I haven't been to the site in years).  A friend of mine had a nanny for his kids - I asked her to show me what it was all about.  You search for people.  You are connected to friends through friends.  Much like Facebook is now, but it was the "new" thing.

I do remember around the same time, or a bit earlier, there was a thing called "Classmates" and you could look up people you went to high school with.  For some reason, I'm thinking it was just your school - I digress.

Back to Myspace.  Long story short.  I found the older brother.  He was living in LA.  It was September.  What do you do?  Well, now everyone does this.  At the time - wasn't sure what to do.  But I do what I've always done.  I try.  I sent him a message through Myspace;  "Hey, how the heck are you?  Summer '89???? (maybe)"  I wrote a few more sentences.  I left my e-mail, my phone number.

He called the next night.  A friendship was rekindled.  We caught up.  His daughter is 6 months older than my oldest son.  We e-mailed.  We talked.  For hours.  For weeks.  Catching up from almost 15 years of an absence.

That same fall a friend of mine was dating a woman whom worked at DisneyLand.  The stars were aligned.  Santa needs to bring a trip to Southern California.  He offered us to stay with them.  I had us free passes to Disney.  Basically, a week long trip - free place to stay, free magic of Disney, all for the cost of plane tickets.

We go.  Of course we do.

My sons and I got on an airplane from Denver to Vegas to Orange County on New Years Eve morning.  To fly to a place to meet some "old/new friends".  It wasn't until we were landing in Orange County that I actually felt a moment of panic.  I looked at the lady across the aisle from me on the plane.  (I had told her the story).  I swallowed very hard.  And for the first time thought, "What the hell are you doing?"

We go to baggage claim.  We get one bag.  He calls to say he just pulled up curbside.  "Duncan, take this bag, and head outside - there is a guy in a white Land Rover going to pick us up".  Both of the other bags arrived before Duncan got out the door.  (Sure mom, don't talk to strangers, but go in this car???").  We get to the curb and say hello.  I introduce him to my sons.  His daughter was waiting at their place for us.

We had a great week.  Bits of it were awkward, funny moments.  Great moments.  Phrases they still repeat from that trip.

There have been many more "family" trips.  Camping.  More New Years. A tragedy. Some grown-up trips too.  A half-marathon.  A triathlon.  A weekend of 8 hockey games.  

Really, the story of meeting these guys - and re-connecting could be several more stories.  These guys are my family.  But, a funny thing has evolved during the last few years.  It's now been 24 years since I first met these two brothers.  Not only now, are they my friends, they are my sons friends.

A couple of years ago on one the camping trips - there was an "older brother/younger brother" bocce ball tournament - ALL WEEKEND.  The brothers and my sons.  I was told to go play with the girls.  Then they have taught them how to drive a stick shift.  The brothers have taught the brothers other bad habits as well. MY brothers now just call my sons.  They all text.  They plan things.

I do still hear from the brothers.  After all, they were MY friends. Of course I do, I still have to get this set of brothers to see the other set of brothers.  "My friends" are now my sons friends.

They try to tell me, "Mom, they are our friends now.  Not yours".  That's okay.  I think it's pretty cool these guys I met sooooo many summers ago are friends with my sons.  No one would have ever believed it.  

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