I celebrated my forty-fifth anniversary of graduation from Texas A&M University with classmates on campus last weekend. The reunion events were delightful and time with friends of long duration was priceless. Sure, we all look older, because we are, some have had significant health events, we all take more medication than we use to, the parties involved less alcohol and broke up much earlier than when we were in our yippee years. Yet, the love, concern and camaraderie were even stronger. Just hanging together was a delight.
The petty conflicts and hurt feelings of long ago have been forgotten. We didn’t need to retell the old war stories, much. It seems to me we pretty much just basked in the presence of the others. At least I did. We remembered those who are no longer with us and we talked about those who were not able to join us due to other commitments. We talked about giving money for special projects on campus in the name of The Class of ’69 and when we will get together again.
I reflected on the memories that flooded my mind as I walked across campus and drove the familiar route I had driven so many times between my home town, Ft. Worth and College Station. I thought about how fortunate I am to have made lifelong friends with the total strangers who showed up for their freshman year. In the crucible of being “fish” in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band and being in the Corp of Cadets we developed an intimacy that has lasted these forty-nine years and will continue.
I grew my soul this last weekend. I was reminded what a rare treasure friendship is and how it helps me stay connected to my universe. I felt better for having been there and spending time with those whose relationship is so important to me. Most importantly, I remembered who has my back and who will be there when I need them. I experienced a true gift of life.