Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Friday, July 09, 2010


I had dinner last night with two old friends.

Well, one of them I've known since around 1995. The other has been his partner for about five years. I am deeply fond of them both.

In one way, our time together was nothing really special. We talked and talked, ate a wonderful meal, talked and talked some more, catching up on the various and sundry details of our lives since the last time we really had time to talk.

I suppose if our conversation had been recorded last night and played back to us this morning, we'd all be bored out of our minds and more than a little embarrassed by the banality of it all.

Spouses. Family. Grandchildren. Work. The church. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Upcoming weddings. Old friends. The various characters in the ongoing saga of "As the Anglican World Turns." A little politics. The latest scandal.

These are the simple threads of the complex patterns in life's fabric.

I love it when you can sit down with friends and suddenly realize that you have picked up the conversation where you last left it.

Sometimes, friendship is like a sweater you're knitting or a piece of needlework you've been fashioning.

You put it away for a time, take it up again, pick up the yarn or threads left dangling, remember the pattern and before you know it, you've finished yet another piece of the art and craft of friendship.

When we greet each other and someone asks, "How are you?" no one ever stiffens their back, plasters a smile across their face, extends a hand and says, "I'm doing quite well, thank you."

We throw our arms around each other and say, "I'm doin' okay." Or, "Better, now." And, if that's not the complete truth, we know that the story will unfold, eventually."

I love it most that we don't have to pretend or be "nice". We know too much about each other to get sold that bill of goods.

We've seen each other at our worst and our best and love each other all the more for the sublime humility and inherent beauty of the truth that none of us is perfect, and no one has to live up to the other's expectation.

However, if we're not living up to our own "personal best", we are unafraid to call each other to a higher standard.

We can just be honest. Human. Real. But not the kind of "keepin' it real" that's just an excuse for social vulgarity - although we are not above an occasional sojourn into vulgar humor.

Indeed, sometimes we share rather raunchy jokes with each other - or drop a few "silent obscenities," mouthing words we'd never utter in the "polite" company of some others - even in our circle of friends.

Yes, our conversation can also wander very close into gossip but we're good enough friends to know when we've slipped over the line that separates curiosity and speculation from harmful innuendo and flat-out slander.

We are quite adept at changing the conversation for each other when we get perilously close to that edge. And, we have a silent understanding that the conversation never goes any further than our dinner table.

Good friends can "take just a little taste" from each other's dinner plate without asking - or, offer a portion of food from one's plate to another's, transferring it with a questioning eyebrow and silent nod.

We are comfortable enough in each other's presence that we can lick our fingers, discretely wipe our mouths and, if necessary, noses, and unbutton the top button of our britches at the end of a good meal, letting out a deep, satisfied sigh.

We can tell a joke that only we understand.

We can laugh so hard water comes out of our nose and we laugh even harder.

Sometimes, we finish each other's sentences and, as we grow older, become each other's memory in the finer details of a great story we never grow tired of hearing or telling.

We know what subjects are "off limits" for conversation because we long ago agreed to disagree on the matter and that's just fine. Oh, it may still secretly piss us off, but what would be the point of going there? Our friendship is more important than any "issue".

We gently remind each other that perhaps another glass of wine might not be a good idea because there's that drive home.

At the end of our meal, one of my friends said to the waitress, "I'll have the ginger ice cream and they'll each have a spoon." He didn't have to ask. He just knew.

I love that. So much.

There's an old saying, "You can never have too many old friends."

I am so blessed to have old friends who know me well and love me still.

There aren't too many blessings greater than that.

1 comment:

Muthah+ said...

Yep, I have friends like that. They live far away now, but I know that if I call them on the phone or tell them I'm comin' they will put me up overnight and we will drink and laugh till we are silly. They are as much family as blood kin and I wouldn't give all the tea in China for them.