Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Almost ... Will Happen Soon

I almost got to see my oldest best friend last Monday. He was my best friend in kindergarten and the friendship continued through elementary school. When we were in our early teens, he moved from Dothan to Mobile, but we still saw each other whenever he came to Dothan. His grandparents lived less than a quarter-mile from my house, and he always called me when he came. As he was finishing Birmingham Southern, I had transferred from Auburn to Samford, and he invited me to campus for a worship service. I don’t think I saw him again until my wedding when he stood up with me as a groomsman. We haven't seen each other or spoken since.

I say that I “almost” got to see him because he was in Greenville on business on Monday evening and Tuesday morning. We were going to meet in Simpsonville and stay up late catching up with each other. Then we realized that we are both almost 50 and that staying up like that would mean that we wouldn’t be worth killing the next day. We took a rain check.

Some may wonder if our friendship means that much, why has it been almost 25 years since we’ve seen each other or even spoken? I don’t know if I can answer that question. I had tried to look him up, but there are a dozen Andy Martins in the Birmingham phone listings. But let me tell you what a true friend he was to me growing up.

We got to know each other in kindergarten at Evergreen Presbyterian Church. We were the ring-leaders in imaginative play on the playground. We made up characters and had new adventures every day (I even remember the characters, but if you think I’m going to embarrass myself by sharing them here, you’ve got another thing coming). School, cub scouts, sleep-overs, you name it … I could count on not feeling left out if Andy was there. He was in the room with me when I called on the phone to ask the first girl to “go steady” with me ... and was the first to know when she broke up with me the next day after recess.

As we grew older, our interests diverged. We were both intelligent, but he was focused (not a hint of ADHD in him) and athletic while I was bookish, scattered, and could barely even figure out how to get my foot on the ball in kick-ball. He often went to Compass Lake with us, but he agreed to go only after I promised not to take a book or a musical instrument. It did not seem to matter to either of us that the other had strong interest in things that we ourselves didn’t find particularly engaging. Our friendship was just friendship … period.

Business promises to bring him back to Greenville several times over the next few months. You can bet we’ll figure out a way to get together ... because that's what friends do. That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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