The other day I went to the pub. It was wonderful. Almost life-changingly or at least life-affirmingly lovely. What had I been drinking? Just beer actually but it was who I was with that was special.
Since my dad graduated university in 1968 (sorry dad, that lets the cat out of the bag) he has met up with his classmates on the first Monday of every third month. Let that sink in. There is a group of around 20-30 men (he did civil-engineering in the 60s, women were in scarce supply) who have not only stayed in touch but have holidayed, worked, and drunk together for coming up on 50 years. When I say the first Monday of every third month I don’t mean that it happened a few times for a couple of years after they left university and then they had a reunion in their 60s and rekindled the meet-ups, I mean on those Mondays in that pub, there is and always has been at least two members of the ’68 civil-engineering class having a pint together and catching up.
When was the last time you saw a childhood or university friend? Just one. Months? Years? My dad saw 5 of them on Monday and if he chooses to make the 200 mile journey he can see them again in 3 months.
Seeing my dad and his friends in the pub was magic. I mean that as literally as I can. I’m lucky enough to be an honorary member (as are all offspring and spouses (the latter are all specifically invited to the Christmas meeting)) and seeing the banter and interaction between a group of friends who have 50 years (actually I’ve just realised that’s it more because they already had 3 years of being friends at university before they graduated) of friendship is something that money cannot buy. People often say “Nobody [on their deathbed] wishes they’d spent more time in the office”, and there’s lots of ways to interpret that but how I’m choosing to look at it right now is spend more time with your friends. That bond cannot be bought or caught up on later, it has to be built and the feel and look of it only comes from time, wear and handling, like the patina on an old armchair or the taste of a good scotch.