Remember that song we were all taught in grade school?
“Make new friends, But keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold.”
We usually sang the song in a round, although I felt square at the time.
We sang the song, seated in a circle on the grade school floor, with kids that we did not know, usually did not want to know, and most likely would never see much of again after that school year.
When you are 9 years young, how old can a friend be?
Last weekend I was surprised by my old law school chums, Fred and Martha Jay.
They were on Whidbey to deliver two chairs which they drove up from Coronado, Calif.
Who needs UPS or Fed-Ex when you can safely drive the length of Interstate 5 with antique chairs wearing seat belts?
I greeted Fred and Martha at the caboose door, wearing my Palestinian goat-herder’s hat, waving pom-poms of red and blue, while yelling an improvisational cheer: “Give me a J, give me a J, give me a J-A-Y! What have you got, what have you got, to-day, eh, eh?”
Friends that I had not seen in 36 years, that’s what we got.
Two weeks ago, I was surprised by Corporal Hawkeye Loeb, who had flown from Phoenix to Portland, rented a car and discovered Freeland.
So much for witness relocation.
Being a retired recon jarhead, Corporal Loeb flushed me out.
We had not seen each other in 20 years.
The 20 years before that we were sucking down suds at the submarine races during our Camp Pendleton lunch hour.
Today, Wes and Kim, two old pals from Oil City, Pa., will be arriving, uninvited, like old friends do.
Old friends don’t need an invitation to visit.
Old friends usually just call you to inform you that they are coming to town, but only to make sure that you will be home.
Where else would we be, living in this isolated, communal paradise?
Old friends don’t need us to clean the place.
Old friends don’t need lodging.
They don’t need money, food or reading material.
Old friends just want to catch up, and laugh getting there.
Maybe I have said this before.
Probably so in one of my 17 years of published newspaper columns, but I used to make fun of our parents and our aunts and our uncles for sitting on the porch, in the shade, laughing, while often-times drinking, watching us kids as we played in the yard or swam in the lake or climbed on the trees.
We kids knew that as long as those crazy porch people laughed, we could play, even sometimes after dark, until the mosquitoes began their buffet.
As the song says: “A circle’s round, It has no end, That’s how long, I’m gonna be your friend … Across the land, across the sea, Friends forever, We will always be.”
Excuse me, while we old friends gather on the front porch for a few chuckles and cheer.
Our kids are raised now, so we old friends just sit, while we laugh and share and stare at the cows.
When was the last time you mooed with a friend?