A friend is someone who...

...knows everything about you and likes you just the same.

Last night I had a double date of sorts. I took two men to dinner...

...my Dad and his longtime friend Dr G, both men are in their mid-80s.

Dr. G and his late wife have been friends with my parents since before my parents knew each other. My mom and the (then unmarried) Mrs G were both very smart, well-educated and sophisticated women from my hometown, in a time and place when there were smart women, but not many well-educated or sophisticated (in the 1940s-50s). Both men still mourn their wives.

I can see why my parents' friendship with the G's lasted many, many decades. The topics of conversation last night were nearly endless. We talked about art (the G's have a vast collection of native American art that they collected over decades and have recently donated to a local museum) and literature. I told him stories about what is appropriate at a Bat Mizvah in New Jersey ca. 2011. We talked about travel, foreign languages, child-raising, the politics of special-needs children. But mostly we spoke of love and friendship.

What did I learn from this? Moving away from my hometown has cost me the day-to-day relationship with lifelong friends. My father and Dr G have so much in common: the same circle of friends, the same interests, the same profession, and as they age, even having lost their wives, and their lives have taken some difficult turns. Health issues has come and gone. Family crises have hit both of our households, but still Dr. G and Dad have each other.

Their friendship has lasted nearly five decades. I hope that when I'm 86 my kids will take me and my friends to dinner, helping my friend to the door from the car, as needed. When I invited Dr. G to dinner, I thought I was doing it to be nice to them. What I learned was, I really was the one being treated. I'm grateful for Dr. G's life-long friendship too!

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