Monday, March 22, 2010

FRIENDS, IN SNAPSHOT



      It was a walk you see on any road, in any town, anywhere in the world -- two young fellows (they could be girls) bouncing along in spurting growth, in gangly gait, jabbering away.

What could be so important to discuss at age 14? Well, anything and everything since age and needs and concerns and wishes and dreams and worries and warts are relative to age.

I saw just the backs of the two young ones as they ambled down Western Highway, the old pre-Revolution kings road in Blauvelt, N.Y., where I live. I did not need to see their faces, for once those two were Mark Broat and I in nearby Hillcrest, 1958. Our conversation then was probably what the Western Highway boys were addressing: school, girls, other people, sports, teachers, nothings and everything.

For a moment, I was back with Mark, for the universality of friends walking is obvious. It was reassuring, too, since while each ruling generation seems to condemn the newer ones for going to hell in a handbasket, somehow the newest quickly becomes the oldest -- surviving, succeeding, making mistakes and producing more youngsters who take walks together as friends on any road, anywhere.

So fleeting is time that I instantly recall those 1958-era walks as if I had just walked into my house at 25 Karnell Street after a one-mile trip with Mark to downtown Spring Valley. No aches and pains then. No taxes to worry about. No concerns over politics. No angst over trials and tribulations in family or among friends. A rather protected world, fortunately, yet a world that not every 14-year-old shares, though even there, friendship blossoms.

My two sons, Arthur 4th and Andrew Edward, had their own walks with friends and now their children will, too. So will youngsters you know. Such is life. Such was the moment yesterday on a sidewalk off Western Highway.

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