The Impact of Friendship

I’ve been lucky to have had three true “best friends” in my life. People I can trust to tell or share anything, people who know me at my best and my worst. As you grow older, life gets busier, people go their separate ways and friendships are harder to maintain, so it’s quite unlikely that I will form such a close bond with anyone other than Victoria again in my lifetime.

From my grade school through college and beyond, I can mark my personal development using the adventures and experiences I’ve shared with Jimmy, Smig (pronounced “Shmeeg”) and Steve. From my first girlfriend (a disaster), my first cigarette (also a disaster), each of my birthdays and both high school and college graduations, thanks to these guys I have a distinct timeline of my life from pre-teen angst through college uncertainty and beyond.

My very first significant friendship and the first of my “BFF” triumvirate was Jimmy. From sixth grade until sometime in high schoolwe were inseparable.

Jim now lives with his lovely wife Rose near West Palm Beach, and I was very excited to meet up with Jimmy (now James) for the first time since 1993. In 18 years, we’ve followed different paths, but seem to have remained quite the same as we were then, and it didn’t feel like the friendship had even really missed a beat.

Back then, we lived only a few miles apart on the west side of town, we were both from middle income families and we both loved baseball, baseball cards and GI Joes. Of course these interests changed and matured later to focus mostly on girls – while we played baseball and traded baseball cards.

Jim taught me about music, baseball cards and what not to wear (his plaid, too-tight 70s hand me downs for example – sorry Jim, had to mention them!)  We had sleepovers and went to ball games, and though it wasn’t all that exciting, we shared a pretty wonderful childhood.

Of course we reminisced over dinner, and surely bored our wives to death reminding each other of long-forgotten recollections, but it was the first time I really realized how much a part of my life those memories remain. Friendships come and go, but the truly impactful ones hold on, even after years and miles of distance.

Hopefully James and I will stay in touch, but then, it shouldn’t be too hard since I’m definitely taking him up on his offer to stay at his place in Key Largo once in a while!

James, get out the baseball cards! We’ll see you when the weather gets cold again in Ohio.