14 September 2014

Bonds of brotherhood, with a hallucinatory aside

Willowbend Country Club, Mashpee, MA
As a part of The Boy's Farewell Tour, he spent his last 'civilian' Saturday at his favorite place - a golf course. A great friend of his and golf teammate was golfing in a match up on Cape Cod and asked The Boy to serve as his caddie. Not wanting to miss a day with The Boy, we joined him, his buddy, and his buddy's parents, who are wonderful friends, for a day on the Cape. Well, let me clarify, yes, we were on the Cape, but we saw no ocean, unless you count the bay that meandered its way through the golf course.

It was a beautiful day. It had been threatening to rain, but in true quixotic Mother Nature behavior, no rain appeared until we began the drive home. This was a fun match because we were able to follow the golfers the entire time. We never had that opportunity during The Boy's high school golf team career. Watching The Boy act as caddie to his friend was a kick. Seeing them interact and listening to them joke and talk 'smack' on the three hour drive up to the Cape reminded me of how powerful the bonds of friendship can and should be. As men, we are typically rather reticent to acknowledge just how powerful those friendships are. To do so, we've been taught, somehow mars our masculinity. This is unfortunate. I've seen how good the influences of friends have been on my son. The examples of his friends is one of the reasons he is embarking on his mission in just a few days. I've seen him doing things to help his friends. I've seen him grow frustrated and saddened by some of the choices his friends made. I've seen him make a difference in his friends' lives.

As I listened to these two yak it up on the drive yesterday, and as us four parents laughed and, on occasion, rolled our eyes, I thought of the friends I've had with whom I shared experiences. Some of these friends have been in my life for close to forty years. Some a shorter time, but I am fortunate to call them friends. I'm mindful of what their examples mean to me. My life is better for friends, near and far, who have influenced me for the better. I hope I've done a little of the same for them.

So it was a good day yesterday, but it was long. I'd woken up, as per usual, way before any normal human being so as we began the three hour drive home, I was fighting to stay awake and lost. Fairly early into the car ride, I was out. Apparently I missed a whole new edition of the boys' story telling but I gave them fodder when I woke up. I must have been out because as I felt the car stop, I awoke completely unaware of where we were. I looked around, saw a log cabin-esque gas station and watched my friend fly out of the driver's seat and into the gas station as if he was on fire (as it happens, he kind of was - his need to go to the bathroom was fiery). I suddenly loudly blurted out, demanding, "Where are we? Where is K going? Wait....where are we?" I genuinely had no idea where we were. It took me a bit to get my bearings but I heard four people howling in laughter watching me try and figure out why we'd stopped at an oddly-themed gas station in Sturbridge, MA. I'm sure it's a lovely place but in my tired, hallucinatory state, I'm not sure I'm the best spokesperson for it. I'm still trying to understand why I bought a liter of Coke Zero there. Or why The Boy insisted I buy him Strawberry Quik. That's just not right.

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