Friends. They're rare. They listen to our problems and when we seek advice, they give it. And they give it honestly.
An old buddy of mine, Dave, was in town from the St. Louis area last weekend. I haven't seen Dave in a couple of years. We've known each other since the mid 80's when we were both working our first radio jobs at KCLE Radio in Cleburne.
Dave and I almost instantly bonded. We had a warped sense of humor and sick way of looking at things. Once we realized we both had a twisted perspective on the world we were doomed to be friends for life.
It wasn't long before Dave up and moved to Illinois to continue his radio career, a job he abandoned shortly thereafter to transition into photography. He made a lifetime of it and recently retired after twenty plus years snapping photos.
Early on Dave and I would keep in touch by sending letters and photos and crude drawings to one another three or four times a year. We'd call very occasionally but rarely saw each other. Even so, we remained friends.
Later, when the Internet became common, we started keeping in touch via email. And now it's texting that's the common link. Not a week goes by we don’t text about the dumbest or most important things.
Once every few years we get together to rekindle our friendship face to face. Sometimes we would travel to Oklahoma and others to Arkansas. We've even met up in Los Angeles. This latest get together was on my home turf in Dallas.
Each time we get together it's always a new adventure. We act like teenage boys, telling crude jokes and watching stupid movies and shows like our favorite, The Three Stooges. We laugh about flatulence and gripe about our inept football teams...mine the Cowboys and his the Rams.
Though we've both grown older and grayer, we still feel like 20-somethings even though our fifty-plus year old bodies haven't quite held up.
We eat way too much, discover new dive bars and basically shoot the bull for hours on end. As our friendship matures we find more and more of our growing up had common themes.
We both came from blue collar families. Our respective dad's both had battles with the bottle. And we both were imprinted with gut bucket country and western beer drinking songs we now cherish even though we hated them growing up.
Dave has heard my darkest secrets and listened to my greatest joys. He's talked me through some of my lowest points in my life and has been there to celebrate my happiest moments. And visa versa.
Who is the Dave in your life? Surely there's somebody who's closer than a brother or that brother from another mother.
If you have one Dave, you're doing well. If you have more than one, then you're really lucky.
Old friends. Buddies. Pals. Chums. Mates. Whatever you call them, they are among the most valuable things in the world.
That's what I'm thinking.