Posted by: guinness222 | July 22, 2019

Loved Ones, Dear Friends, Good Friends, Friends and Acquaintances, and‘ All others’, (folks I haven’t met yet,…….and that’s all there is to life!

As you get older there ARE certain distinct advantages open to you. No, I’m not talking about “Senior Specials”, (“2FER’S” (a/k/a “two for the price of one”), or “buy one get one free” BOGO’s). What I’m talking about is something you don’t even know you have until, (hopefully!), you realize it when you get older.

I’m talking about the value and TYPES of friendships you have during your entire life, and particularly as we must “age out”. The term “age out”, I first time I heard it, was when I was a teenager, and was involved in Drum & Bugle Corps.

There were “maximum age” requirements in being a member of a local Drum & Bugle Corps, (we worked very hard at it, using less, and built an “Esprit de Corps” even the Marine Corps would be jealous of today. BUT there it meant that after you hit that particular age, which in the sixties was 21 years old, you could no longer participate in competitions and compete in uniform as a “member” of the Corps. And,as the pastime became more popular the entire sequence took on a different meaning to you,….a deeper more of a “rite of passage” tone, and inner feeling. You knew you would never again be on the field of competition with the 65-80 other “kids”, competing to be a “perfect example”, of what you and your “compadres” were working together to provide the “folks in the stands”for entertainment and precision both in the mechanics of playing a drum, or a single piston bugle, ….oh, while “marching” to an elaborately choreographed 11-13 minute precision program.

Life has an “aging out” option as well,…..it’s called death and the dying process. An just like the “aging out” process of being in a Drum & Bugle Corps, it is a totally inevitable thing you can’t stop, you can’t delay, and you can’t “avoid”it,….it’s LIFE!!

As a “kid” I was always being perceptive of those around me at a very early age, perhaps 7 or 8 years old. I knew all our neighbors, as it was a pretty compact inner city neighborhood. I could not help but notice “things” around me, and some of it was very upsetting! The man across the street, whose grandchildren came over a lot and we used to play together, cards, old maid, whist, “go Fish”, etc. He worked for the Boston Gas Company as long as I can remember,….then he started just being home all the time sitting on the porch or in the living room in his chair with a newspaper. His grandson, Drew” I believe was his name, when I inquired why he was home all the time, then told me he was “retired”. Well,it didn’t escape my notice that what seemed about six months later was that he passed away. Of nothing in particular, just worn out and used up I thought.

That said from the time you are born, you are “meeting and greeting” other people, some you like, some you don’t, some you “connect with”, others you don’t,…some you want to avoid, and others you want to embrace, and still others, you just want to shake hands and say some socially innocuous thing like, “nice to meet you, we’ll have to get together later”.

But “later” never comes because , you don’t really want it to come, …..you don’t care if it comes,…..or you just never make the effort to make it become a reality!

I started classifying those folks I met over sixty or seventy years ago, (ok call it “judging”, but you are wrong! It was my youthful effort to become organized so I could go into business when I grew up and be GOOD at it.

Some folks you meet, well you take an immediate liking too, others, not so much, and still others, time to change the phone number, the address, and anything else you may have said at the time you met them.

Let me run through the SIX major categories of people I’ve always used, and hope it it helps you to either “upgrade your game” or in the future recognize the “potholes” of life and some friendships.

1) LOVED ONES – In this category are family member, regardless of the “teeth gritting”, smile and polite conversation of even a five minute meeting, and on to the level of an entire day or special “family Occasion” ie. Christmas, Thanksgiving, an impromptu barbecue , or the like. you LOVE them , regardless of things you or they have done or said, but it is a “loving tolerability”, some times it’s a justified “bummer” because you happen to have let them down, or can not honor a commitment you made to them. But the fact is they are “blood” or “blood in law” those are sacred conditions and exceptions.

But the fact is if they needed a kidney, a liver, or whatever else that “ONLY you could give,….well there is no doubt you WOULD step up and donate without a second thought, and actually do it!!

FAMILY IS EVERYTHING, regardless of all else!

And other loved ones, Aunt’s, Uncles, best friends cousins, nieces and nephews, and that’s where I’ll leave it! Suffice it to say , ….”if it feels like ‘family’,…it is!!”. Remember, “God gave you your family,….but you can, and have to, choose your friends.”

2) DEAR FRIENDS- This is the hardest section to write, it is actually, the most individually different, in terms of the “who” and “why”, and also perhaps the MOST misunderstood, but I’ll give it a shot,, and remember your opinion counts as well, (you just have to tell me what it is!!!, e-mail it to “ag2guinness@gmail.com”, and I WILL respond.

First of Course is my wife Barbara, without exception!! We have literally been from the “pits to the Ritz”,……and back again, as the world cycled by us for the past 53 years. That should, and must be your PRIMARY focus in your life, it is the first “long lasting” choice you will make that has an impact on you for the rest of your days on earth!

As an example, sometimes “Dear Friends” come from our childhood, other times “just last week”! A “dear friend ” is a “connection”, sometimes they are simply an instant connection, like someone who makes a comment which you feel really drawn to, or believe it or not, someone you have NEVER actually formally met or been introduced to. (That sort of widens the requirements, but you know in your heart who is a “Dear Friend” and not just a friend! (Think about your’s for a minute or two.)

My “dear friends” probably don’t. (Or didn’t know they were in that category, because I am a kind of “standoff” type of guy and NOT the openly emotional guy. My first “dear Friend was my best man, and childhood friend whom we shall call Barry. We both lived in the same neighborhood, grew up together to a degree, became buddies when we both went to the same private High School and did silly stuff like “open heart surgery on a Frog as a sophomore year science fair project, (almost overwhelming his Mom with the amount of ether we used). My second “Dear Friend” was a girl named Noreen, we were both in the Drum and Bugle Corps together, and a couple of us (my friend Paul and I) used to hang out at her house, watching TV and just enjoying life together, with Barry her brother, Gary, another local fried and tenor drummer in “the Corps”.

My third “dear friend” was a lady who just passed away, Ms. Neill, while perhaps my shortest “dear friend” we used to “kibitz” and chat almost every day as we had a drink at our local “PUB” . She and I could chat for hours about anything, except Pro football teams, she was a “Rabid” New Orleans Saints” fan and I , of course a New England Patriots fan,….but other than that, be it politics, religion, business or just life, we used to loved to chat at our favorite “Pub” here in Destin. It was only a year and a half that I knew her, but as I said somewhere up above, (or not) it was an instant and open acceptance of each other and our beliefs. People used to come over and were welcome to sit with us and chat about whatever was the “topic” of the day!! Many a good day was spent solving the world’s problems! My wife and I even went out to dinner with her about two months before her final “aging out” process began.

3)GOOD FRIENDS- There is very little difference between a “Dear Friend” and a “Good Friend”. As a matter of fact there is only a single one that I can find,……that is the depth of that singular “undefinable ” “connection” that will last a lifetime, through thick or thin, and is the pure friendship we all wish for and hope to have in our lives, particularly as we “age out” of life, ourselves.

4) FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES– This is pretty much anyone, and everyone you meet during the entirety of you life. Be it Church friends, business friends, like minded hobbyists, you name it. They are the “nice scenery” you see on a drive through the mountains, valleys, hamlets, villages towns and Cities of your life. Sometimes there a some mutual connections, obligations, or commitments, they usually never enter the realm of “Dear Friends”, or even “Good Friends”. Again this is simply a piece to illustrate how we as human beings grow, develop, and become a part of the life we live and others around us.

The bottom line is that we are all going to “age out” of this life, to some you’ll just be a “footnote”, to others you’ll have become one of the above classifications,…..I would be willing to bet, it will make a big difference when it’s time for us to “age out” and the best we can ever hope to be is a future memory and on someone else’s list of “LOVED ONES”, “DEAR FRIENDS”, “GOOD FRIENDS”, OR simply a “FRIEND or ACQUAINTANCE”,…….

That is what we all strive to be,………remembered for our goodness!

-30-

July 22, 2019


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