August 28, 2017
By Arthur H. Gunther III
Received a chatty, welcome letter from a special friend whom I have not seen since 2006, and before that the early 1990s, and before that 1981 and 1966. Might seem odd that there was a letter at all since what sort of friendship meets on just four occasions in 50 years?
Yet friendships are not defined by physical presence. The best of them have to do with the elemental, where touchstones are again stepped upon, as children do crossing a stream. You grow, and there are important things to do, you live your life, but things are still tucked away in the closet.
In such friendships, there does not have to be deep emotion involved or a sharing of private lives — the real living that counts with the significant people in your existence. Such friendship, with a rare letter, or note or comment, is like recalling a teacher long ago, or the walk you took downtown to the bus.
There are many similar seconds or even minutes in life, and reconnection is reassurance that you have lived and that it has been worthwhile. And you do not have to dwell in or on the past to appreciate that. Most can manage a smile in quick reflective thought on seemingly unimportant events.
The friend’s letter was prompted by my own, simply to keep in touch with two people who share with me a common upbringing in what was once a rural place. So, chatty stuff, not earth-shattering news — this and that about each other’s family, reports that despite the usual afflictions of getting older there is good health.
Like I said, it was crossing the stream again, hopping on those old rocks. Reassurance.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. firstname.lastname@example.org