I sat there at the table, carrying on a conversation with a young man who was just a couple of years younger than my son. This wasn't the peculiar thing, since I regularly discuss sports, video games, and related topics with young men who happen to be friends with my son, or are students at the school where I teach. The interesting thing was that I was having a conversation with the teenaged son of my college roommate. To my left, my wife was busy catching up with his sister, the sixteen-year-old daughter of my college roommate.
Again, there was nothing truly bizarre or unique about these interactions. I was struck by the time that had passed between those years when my friend and I were first setting up housekeeping and the moment where we found ourselves on the left side of the country, with our families, sharing in a vacation that brought us all together. In a quiet moment, I shared this bit of perspective with my buddy, and we agreed that it had been a long, strange trip. All of those things that might have kept us apart or made it impossible to stay in touch had been surmounted. Now, we sat in the restaurant feeling the extra pull of gravity, his silver hair reminding me of the absence of my own, and feeling that next generation getting ready to stir things up.
We weren't that much older than our sons are now when we first met. We were going to set the world on fire, or at least our corner of it, and for a while, that's exactly what we did. We wreaked havoc in a way that never got us too close to the edge, and when we did, something would bring us back to the center. Often, that was me. I was the anchor. The chicken. The fraidy cat. But when Friday night rolled around again, I knew that there would be another adventure and I had better be ready for when the going got weird.
Married. Divorced. Kids born. Friends died. Parents died. We kept moving through it. Across a continent, we stayed in touch. Sometimes better. Sometimes worse. The years raced by until the youth left us and landed squarely in the laps of our children. The stories flew around, serving mostly to remind us of others that we had begun to forget. We told these stories for the benefit of our kids, who had heard versions of these myths before, but having that other voice to fill in the gray spots made them all the more thrilling. To tell, if not to hear. For better or worse, this is their heritage, and someday it could be grandpa telling stories to another round of bemused faces.
Don't you know we're living in stolen moments
You steal enough, it feels like we're stopping time
These days are gold, we're living in stolen moments
Just grab a hold - John Hiatt "Stolen Moments"