Understanding who I was versus who I am

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2015

How was your weekend? A frequent question on Monday morning. Despite another loss by my Auburn Tigers, it was a pretty good weekend. Actually, it was a great weekend.

I go to Auburn partially because I spent four years in college there, and I still love the place. Mary Lou and I have a deep connection to Auburn not just because of its rolling hills or the excitement of football weekends.

We love it most because of the people we met at that time of our lives when the whole world was in front of us.

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This weekend wasn’t about football. It was about sharing a few days with two of my closest friends from those idealistic days. Bill Moench was my roommate for much of the time we spent at Auburn. David Williams was an equally close friend. They have both remained an important part of my life for the 43 years since we first met as pledge brothers at Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.

My wife knew my friends during college, but the other two wives, Pam and Cathy, only know this time from the stories we tell. After decades of the same tales, they are as orange and blue as we are. They know when to laugh, when to moan and when to roll their eyes back in their head.

We are three couples who have shared life despite never living close to each other. The girls sat on the patio for hours sharing their lives as if they had been lifelong friends themselves. At this point in their lives, they really have.

The guys sat in the den watching football, but with the volume turned down so we could talk. No matter how much you email or talk on the phone, you still have so much to share.

These times are about remembering why you were such good friends way back when, and never forgetting. You get together and it is like yesterday when you last saw each other. The friendship is easy. It is strong enough to call when you are in need. It is tender enough to share the hard parts of life we have all experienced.

Friendships endure because you work at them. You hang in there and stay connected when thousands of miles separate you. You don’t walk away. You aren’t too busy to talk.

You never take each other for granted, even as life changes you from the days you first met.

There is a certain joy of being in a group of friends that shared such an important time in your life. We all remember different things. We remember the same things differently. It is yesterday, today and tomorrow all at the same time.

Most will remember the old song from our earliest childhood days: “Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver, but the other is gold.”

These three couples are not just special friends. We are mirrors into each other’s past. These visits reflect special and treasured moments of the past 43 years. Most importantly for me personally, these shared times give me a glimpse of who I once was while at the same time helping me understand who I am.