A number of years ago we had dinner with friends. Towards the end of the meal the husband told us that we owed them a mazel tov. He pridefully informed us their daughter was pregnant and due in a couple of months. We exchanged hugs and kisses and ‘mazel tovs.’ On the drive home, I turned to my wife and told her that no longer will we socialize with this couple. We had a very pleasant evening and so, she was surprised by my comment. ‘Why not?’
She asked. I replied. ‘We are not going to double date with grandparents’. Years have passed since I established that taboo and in what seems an instant I have been proven to be not a very good prophet, but hopefully a good zeyde.
These past days we spent our annual Jersey Shore visit with childhood friends. We rode bikes on the boardwalk. We dashed into the chilly Atlantic. We laughed. We ate. We reminisced. We celebrated our friendship, but we also compared medications and showed pictures of our aineklach on our smart phones. I was gently teased as the baby of the foursome because they were already threescore score and ten and I, the kid, wouldn’t turn seventy until December. It was a glorious time, but sobering on some level of ignored mortality. We who have known each other, literally, for our entire lives are now closer to the coffin than to Tinker Toys, little league and the guzzling down our first, frothy Schmidt’s. We have graduated to bigger and better, yet the distant past remains both crisp and foggy, a joyous, confusing paradox of who we were and who we are. We have evolved, but see no difference in the morning mirror, dismissing the evidence that testifies to our seniority. The passage of time is an illusion. The years have weathered us on the outside. Wrinkled us. Slowed us up a bit. But the essence of who we are remains unchanged. We laugh. We cry. We love the same and treasure what we have shared as friends these many decades. It is a priceless gift that remains forever young.
It was once said that we are as old as our despair and as young as our dreams. May we dream noble dreams for 120 years and travel to the Jersey Shore every summer.