During the period of time that we grow and mature from youth to adults and then as we continue our journey through life we generally meet people, develop and nurture close friendships. Many of these friendships are lasting even though we may be separated from a friend for years without even a word of communication. Past memories remain alive as if we had spoken only yesterday.
When I was in high school every Thursday was Boy Scout Night and many of us would gather at the scout hut located at the intersection of the CC camp road and the Spearsville Highway. Now destroyed by fire, this location served as an incubation setting for the development of future lawyers, doctors, federal judges and an abundance of good American citizens. Friendships were made that would last a life time and one that I made went well past the borders of Union Parish. When I left my navey ship in Southeast Asia to go into the Navy Seabees I received orders to Pt. Hueneme, California for training. While home on leave and sitting at Gillum’s café I heard that one of my Scout friends and his sister had left Farmerville to join their mother and father at their father’s new assignment in Pt Hueneme. What a coincidence and for three months I was adopted into the family that made life so much easier for a young sailor in California. The friendship was all ways there and for over thirty five years and in my mind it was as if it would last forever. The man moved back to Farmerville, set up his business, married and had a family. I kept up with him through friends and said on many occasions that I need to track him down and visit and I was confident that I would bump into him and we could visit and share stories of our lives. Then while driving to work lastThursday morning my wife called to tell me that Jr Eldridge had died. On Friday I stood at Beulah Cemetery on a drizzling cold dank day to pay last respects and say good bye to a friend I had not spoken to but once in thirty-five years.
So what is wrong with this picture. As a young child for three cents we could mail a letter and within a week we could receive a response. The wait was long but acceptable. My mother would call her mother in the mountains of Nevada and after talking to a live telephone operator who would set up the cross country connections, fifteen minutes later the call would go through. It was even worse when calling the U.S from Arabia as we would have to set up the call two days in advance and pay a whopping three dollars a minute to talk to loved ones back home. Then enter the internet and e-mail began changing the way to communicate. Our broadband technologies now allow us to tweet, instant message, skype, phone text, send photos instantly, build social networks and link professionally at the speed of light; and more is on its way. So, as we have been liberated to communicate world wide at little or no cost, we are losing the reality that it is far more rewarding to sit down across a table from each other and simple have a conversation. This social interaction is much more gratifying.
Back to my story. We become complacent and comfortable in the knowledge that we can easily communicate to others whenever we desire. Unfortunately knowing we can communicate is not the same as actually communicating. Picking up a phone and calling or sending an e-mail to an old friend just to say hello is an easy task to perform. It’s time to step back, take a deep breath and smell the roses and think of the life journey that got us where we are today and rekindle some of the lost friend ships that have slipped away in our hurried lives.
Next week, unless Syria explodes or some other major event happens, I will share with you the story of a few guys that formed a softball team and the camaraderie that has existed for over thirty years.


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