I walked the hill up to the football field on the south side of my small hometown which is tucked up against the lazy Ohio river just as the sun was beginning to sink, remembering the last time I set foot in this space was the day I graduated from high school. My college roommate, Beth asked me last week if I was free Friday night, her son plays football for an Ohio team in Fayetteville who would be the opponents in this week’s showdown. Beth and I have kept touch through the years even as her life took her to live in several places in the states before returning back home recently. We met up in front of the concession stand and it took seconds to feel like no time had passed at all. Our friendship was easy from the beginning when we met in English class our freshman year. She was never embarrassed of me, never intimidated by my sidecar of heavy baggage that showed up in our dorm room when I moved in with her. Realizing how much I missed her laugh, I was thrilled to be able to spend time together. I am sure the people around us were wishing for a mute button as they heard over and over our ping pong game of “Oh, remember the time that we…” it was a belly laughing stroll down memory lane. Sitting on the cold hard concrete bleacher seats, weathered and cracked, worn from the years of bubble gum breakups and soda stained cheers for teams that no longer existed, it felt good to be in this place.
On Sunday kismet would throw me a pass which I caught and carried into the Greyhound station as I met up with my dear college friend Michele, giving her a ride to see her folks as unforeseen circumstances would bring her into town. We did not stop talking the four hours we spent together that day, heartfelt conversations of our journeys past and present and many reflections of memories we shared together in college. Our struggles were not that different back then, and while mostly unspoken at one time or another during those days one of us would grab the other firmly by the back of the collar until over the sinking sands and safely to solid ground. Time is a funny thing, it goes so fast yet in the blink of an eye, you can feel as if no time has passed at all. I thought about the impact these two woman have had on my life, and I can honestly say I don’t know if I would have made it without them. Those friendships you find along the way, the ones that time can not consume may very well be the most important gifts we are given in life.