Connecting with an Old Friend
Winter just won’t seem to let go of its grasp on Colorado, it was a cold rainy day today, but at least we didn’t get the snow that was originally predicted. But as is normal here this time of year, it is supposed to be 72 degrees on Friday, and I plan on getting out to one of my favorite lakes to do some fishing. I had been thinking about that all day, planning how Friday will be, what I will bring, all of those types of things to make the dreary day go by faster. Then out of the blue I got an email from a guy who was my best friend for the first half of my life.
I talk a lot about my best friend Rich, who I have known since 1988, we were in the Air Force together, we played sports together, hunted together, I got him into fishing, and we have been very close ever since, even though he has since moved to Washington. But the email I got today was from my childhood best friend, his name is Wells. We were friends from grade school all the way through college, and had I not moved away with the Air Force, he would most likely still be my best friend. It’s funny how when you know someone like that, even though you haven’t been in contact in a year or so, you pick up a conversation like you just saw them yesterday.
Wells and I had a lot of great adventures in our days. We played sports together as well, but as young kids, teenagers, and young adults, we did a whole lot of other things too that formed who we are today. After all these years, we are still so much alike in what we do for fun, and we had a nice conversation about turkey hunting and elk hunting.
Just having that email conversation with Wells made me feel young again. I thought about the forts we used to build at the creek down the street when we were kids, and the ambitious project of a boat that we built and took out on the lake two blocks from home, and the elaborate tree houses we built. Wells was also one of the first guys that I used to shoot with a lot when we were teenagers. His grandpa had this really old, green, iron clay pigeon thrower that he let us use, and we would go out and shoot clay pigeons for an entire day. We both became very good at shooting with a shotgun, and could even hit a clay pigeon, then aim for and hit another piece of the same pigeon. I’m not sure I could do that today, but then again I haven’t tried that in 35 years.
Wells and I grew up together, through all of the tough times of childhood and being a teenager. Then we went off to college together, joined the same fraternity (Sigma Chi), and took on that next stage of our lives together. I remember the day we drove to Kansas State University to start the fall semester of 1980. We were in Wells’ old green truck, it was a step side that had been in his family’s construction business for some time, I don’t remember the year, but it was early or mid 60’s, we called it “The Tank” because it was such a strong piece of machinery, and it had one of those old “ahhhOOOga” horns. It was Wells, his high school girl friend Renee (who he later married and is still married to today) and me all in the front seat, with all of our stuff in the truck bed, heading off to the next adventure in our lives.
I’ll stop with all the memories, I could go on forever, but our conversation turned to hunting next year. As I mentioned earlier in my article about hunting alone, Wells would be the other guy that I would not hesitate to hunt with in the wilderness. Even though I haven’t seen him in years, that bond is there between us, I could just feel it by the tone of the conversation we had today, even though it was only by written words, it was like I just saw him yesterday.
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me those close relationships that are built between friends don’t fade away over time or distance, no matter how long or how far. While the things that make Wells and I close and Rich and I close may have a different history, the root of them all is the same; it’s the bond we make through our life experiences, and the common things that keep us in touch. No matter what is going on in our lives, we can always relate to two things that are parallel in our lives; our children and the outdoors. It’s a powerful combination, and when you mix that with the history, it’s no wonder the close feeling of friendship never goes away.