Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Enduring Friendship: Sunday musings…1/26/19

Sunday musings…

1)  Capitalism. “Capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all of the rest of them.” Winston Churchill

2) Randy Newman. While I was surfing around Facebook the other day I came across a page where Three Dog Night was singing their hit song “Mama Told Me Not to Come”. It turns out the song was written by Randy Newman.

Of course it was.

3) Friendship. I have been asked many times over the years when it is that I actually write “Sunday musings…” That question has always puzzled, and frankly amused me. I mean, it is called SUNDAY musings, right? I sit down on a Sunday morning and think back over the week just past and pull out the things that were interesting to me. Or things that made me think. Or things that I hadn’t quite figured out yet. But I really do sit down on a Sunday and put down my thoughts on that day.

This week I was planning on writing about CrossFit, and where CrossFit finds itself as a movement in the year 2020. I also stumbled across an article on the dangers of early specialization in young athletes. Poor Zion Williams looks like he is the most recent victim of this phenomenon, having experienced a knee injury at the tender age of 19, suffered in the act of plying his trade. Now for sure I will eventually take up both of these topics, but as is so often the case something is a little bit more important, or at least high enough on my priority list that it will bump everything else and become this week’s “Sunday musings…”

Friendship is once again foremost in my mind this morning.

Last night Beth and I hosted a group of couples we first met when our family moved to Bay Village Ohio in 1992. Bay Village is a pretty interesting place. People are born there, go to school there, return, and raise families. It’s not unusual for Cleveland natives to live in a social circle which was formed in kindergarten. This is not only particular of Bay Village, but seems to be a thing across the entire Northeast Ohio region. I have friends who went to Catholic elementary school, junior high school, high school, and then college, who will see their best friend from age 5 on a weekly basis for a beer. The particular group we had dinner with last night is not like that at all. We were all transplants from somewhere else raising our families in Bay.

Beth and I have watched this phenomenon now for several generations, as parents ourselves watching our children, but also watching some of my younger colleagues in the healthcare community. The preschool PTA group we hosted for dinner last night all had children within a year or two of one or several of our three. Most of the moms were stay-at-home mothers, a surprisingly common state that women in our generation found themselves in during the early 1990s. As an aside, the death of the stay-at-home mom was proclaimed quite prematurely, at least in the greater Cleveland area. As is so often the case the men involved became friendly as a side effect of the lives that our wives were living while they were raising children.

For the seven couples arranged around our table last night it has been at least a 25 year journey in friendship. Support given and received during the tumultuous years of raising children has evolved into the kind of friendships where trust is a given. It’s funny how these friendships built through our children are the friendships of our adult years. I have often noted that men are very bad at the game of making friends after we leave school. Particularly after the age of 30 men don’t do a very good job at making friends. Women tend to make friends by sharing experiences, sharing emotions. This can actually be done over the phone, by FaceTime, even through texting and messaging. Of course, it’s always better when done face-to-face. Men, on the other hand, are well known to make friends standing shoulder to shoulder. Our friendships are typically based on shared experiences.

Our particular group of men has bonded over the game of golf. I was really the only real golfer in the group when we started. As I have written before my dad gifted the game of golf to my brother and me when we were very young. All of the other men in our group took up golf later in life. Sessions at the driving range and rounds played at public courses all over Ohio and on trips to the South were as much about time spent together as they were about time spent playing golf. My sides and my stomach ache this morning from all of the laughter we shared last night retelling the same stories we’ve been telling now for 25 years about adventures on and around golf courses; adventures in friendship more than really adventures in golf.

What’s the point, you ask? Well, I think the point is really most about the value of these long tenured friendships. Tending to these friendships like one would tend to an ancient garden. You know in your heart that the garden will still be there if you happen to travel, to spend time away from it. And yet time spent in the garden, tending the flowers, judiciously weeding out anything that might harm the garden makes it so much better. The effort to do so really doesn’t feel like work at all, does it? The joy one gets from being in the garden is so great that the work it takes to tend to the garden just doesn’t feel like work at all. Friendships like that are a gift.

Last night we ate too much, consumed at least enough wine, and left no dessert behind. We listened, we laughed, and we loved. I guess “Sunday musings…” today is really just a long and rambling “thank you” to our friends for, well, being our friends. I always wake up every morning thinking how lucky I am. Over the course of this weekend at dinner on both Friday and Saturday nights Beth and I were embraced by our friends.

This morning I woke up feeling just a little bit luckier.

I’ll see you next week…

Leave a Reply