Following on from yesterday’s post about the importance of saying “thank you” to friends, this also applies to my long standing friendship with Wallie. It seems to me that as the years tick by, the importance of friends seems greater than ever.
By friends, I mean long standing friends. When I was in my 20s I knew lots of people – and I mean LOTS. I considered most to be friends and yet looking back I’d say they were generally acquaintances. Wallie is an exception and we got to know each other in 1982, back in college days. It was in the student canteen where he clocked I was being given a hard time for enjoying the music of Tom Waits. He joined the conversation by saying Tom Waits was one of coolest musicians around and this kind of shut everyone up. I think most people in those days were listening to the “new romantics” of the time. Not us and so from that point we’ve been good friends.
We saw a lot of each other at college and had a number of things in common – cycling, photography, art and music. That’s not to say we’re identical to each other – far from it as we don’t agree on everything – but that’s what makes it interesting. Wallie sometimes shares something new with me; a piece of music for instance. I might like it, I might not. Our friendship doesn’t depend on having exactly the same taste or opinion.
And so after my visit to Geoff, I went to see Wallie and we had planned a bike ride around the area he now lives in which is new to me. Well that’s not quite true as Wallie pointed out a lake which we had cycled past before. I was seriously puzzled and then he explained we had done a night ride and had been past the lake, which I think I can now be forgiven for not remembering because a) it was a few years ago and b) it was pitch black that night.
We did about 20 miles ambling around the country lanes, chatting side by side for the most part. Wallie is a good listener; just as well as I was talking through my work (day job) difficulties and yet we still managed to talk over some of those “do you remember the time when…..”. I like that, being reminded of things from years back.
One of the nice things about having such long standing friends is being able to share the different seasons in life. Our conversations back in the 1980s were full of optimism and looking forward to life unfolding before us. We started our careers which have been very different and our lives have indeed unfolded. These days the subject of retirement is creeping into the conversation far more these days especially as Wallies can retire if he wants to. Over the decades we have both fallen in love and got married to our respective wives, we’ve moved houses to different parts of the country, both had ups and downs with work, we’ve both travelled to different parts of the world with many experiences to share.
It’s worth mentioning here that Wallie’s trekking MTB, a Dave Yates, has now been sold courtesy of eBay. The price was agreed between both parties and fair for a vintage custom made trekking bike (i.e. Campag equipped, made to measure). Here’s the link to some info on this unique bicycle with a round-the-world heritage and a couple of above and below of where its been.
So many memories, shared wisdom, so many reflections, so many great bike rides together over the years. So many more to look forward to!