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4:22 p.m. - January 27, 2006
And You, Yes You, I Love You Man!
I was reading something one of the people in my hometown wrote on her site, and it gave me pause.

The Wednesday, January 25, entry of Kelly’ssite really hit home for me, not only because I know both of them (and know this kids and my kids know their kids, etc. etc. etc.) but because it talks about friendship.

My best friend, Moose has been my main man for many years, but especially after college when instead of pursuing fame and fortune, he ‘screwed around’ here in BFE land for a while before moving back east when his whole family moved out there.

So now we see each other once or twice a year and he’s only been back to Indiana a scant few times. He and his wife have met Katie, but not Kristin. They have salivated over our house but not been in it. Of course, being childless and yuppie, and with some family scattered around and definite passions in their life, they get to be a bit more international with their travel, as they have traveled to Ireland, New Zealand, and other far flung locales.

But I know he’s my bud – he’ll always be there for me. Our pact is if that we have to, we’d quit our job and drive the other to Alaska. Now, since I’ve already driven to Alaska in my life that may not have as MUCH impact as it did back in 1990. But I still stand by it, and especially now since I know a good way to get up there.

So even though he’s not here with me at a moment’s notice to shoot the bull, eat at Little Mexico, drink beer and play softball, and irritate the wives with incessant arcane rock conversation (OK, irritate MY wife – his wife would be down with it), he’s still numero uno who I have leaned on in a few times of woe and peril.

My other hombres mejores are also far flung. TC is in Kent, Ohio. Mac is in Columbia, Maryland. Sid is here in town, but his work keeps him hopping as much as my activities do, plus being childless and unmarried he doesn’t quite flow in the same circles I do. (Uh, I guess you can flip that – I don’t have much of a circle, really).

I’ve got a lot of good friends here in town. I have a great bunch of guys I play softball with and a great bunch of people I work with (and those worlds do collide, too). And we have this circle of friends that always gather at major times for parties, etc.

About a decade ago, this group used to gather almost every Sunday to sit around and chew the fat, drink some beer and make fun of each other. (This is the gathering where the infamous Whig Party incident took place, BTW.) The men (and some of the women) would play golf together almost every Sunday, and sometimes the wives would join us on the course to heckle and harass us.

Kelly and Heather were (and are) part of that group, and they’re just fun people to be around. Heather once brought her son over to spend time with Katie and Kristin so Liz and I could have an adult dinner. We offered to reciprocate as well, whenever.

They also understand that we have less parental and other resources around. My parents are both older, and no way could take care of the kids even for a short period of time. My family here also has issues with work schedules and other things, which precludes us from really imposing on them. I know they’d do it if we asked, but right now with Kristin’s separation anxiety it just doesn’t feel right at this time.

But, over time, the frequency diminished. We were living 40 minutes away from the action, and because of various work schedules and other activities we didn’t come over quite as often.

Then the group all went through changes at once. Some got married, some had kids, some did both. Some people couldn’t handle the changes that were happening and semi-ostracized themselves accidentally on purpose. But really, you just can’t keep doing what you were doing 5 years ago when your responsibilities change. Maturity sucks at times, but it’s a necessity.

I love that group of locals to death. Sure, they can be merciless at times, but it’s only when you really deserve it. We don’t get together as often as we should – some people in that group I see just a few times a year even though we live in the same town. But that’s real life with two small kids and tricky schedules.

People also respect our schedules, which is great. They know we’ve got two kids so I don’t get calls to go out on the town – we get at least a week’s notice or so if anything may happen. It’s not like it used to be, when at 8:00 if people were bored they just called people and made an instant party out of it, but it’s probably for the best for all parties (especially my liver).

However, it’s great comfort knowing they’re around, and that they care.

I also have a lot of ‘conference’ buddies. These are people that I see a few times a year at the various dog and pony shows I attend. I correspond with some of them via email and have had some good conversations with them, and I respect and care about them. Many of them are mentors, many of them are conference after-hours troublemakers with me, but all are fun. AJ, the City Mouse, the Candidate (who have been featured in these pages) are all part of this group (well, two different groups based on the different types of conferences I attend).

Then there are the online buddies I have met just recently ‘round these parts. There are tentative plans to meet some face to face over the next three months or so – and there are some of us that are in fairly close proximity to me, as in Chicago, Michigan, and the like. (In a past life, we’d just take a weekend and go knock on their door!)

But I also marvel at the diversity of the folks I’m meeting. Naturally, I gravitate at times toward the parents because I know what’s happening with them. There are young married folks with kids, young single mothers, parents of preschoolers (both mommys and daddys), divorcees with kids, parents of adopted children, and birth mothers (who always need a hug as far as I’m concerned).

Then there are my friends from across the pond, from above us and from way down under. There’s the smart ass singles with hearts of gold who I would most definitely love to hang with in bars and give them hugs (and maybe numbers of single friends if they so desire). There are the soldiers who just returned from Iraq. There are the people with ‘alternative’ lifestyles. It’s a great stew of people, and I love ‘em all. I just hope I don’t bug ‘em too much via email.

I hate feeling smothery, you know. Like I fear that if I email a couple people more than once a week sometimes they think I’m being overly something, like stalkerish. Heck, I just get bored and start typing emails. And no one has to worry about being stalkery to me. Shoot, I don’t care if you send 20 emails to me a day.

Anyway, I love all of my friends, near, far, and cyber. You all are special people that have touched my life.

But most of all, of course, I love my wife and kids. Yeah, it’s sappy, but it’s the truth. While Liz wonders about all of these people what I know is that I’m happier now and have a lot more perspective now after starting this little essay deal. And that’s made our life better in many ways.

Now, if we could just catch up on some sleep!

 

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