Snakes and Ales and Panda Bear Tails.

They became friends as first graders more because of proximity than preference.  I suppose this is true of children in any neighborhood.  They were little guys who spent hours playing touch football and soccer,  collecting all things Pokemon,  and tracking mud into the kitchens of their mothers.   Two of the three of them were obsessed with pandas as evidenced by the elementary school Halloween photo of the two of them in full Panda garb.  They walked back and forth to the elementary school three blocks away every day. Then, in middle school they  walked in the other direction toward the high school.  There were sleepovers and trips to the cabin and birthday parties year after year.  Sometimes, they drifted apart.  Always, they found their way back.

One was a red headed, freckled face boy.  One a tow-head.   One was black haired.

Three Good Friends.

This past weekend, they came to visit me, the mother of the black haired boy.  They are all 21 years old now.  And they are still good friends to each other.  They ate…a lot.  They sacked out and watched football.  They went hunting.  They drank a few beers and had a few laughs.

What a gift.  To be friends with people who knew you when you were afraid of the dark and who knew you before your voice changed and who know your deepest and darkest secrets and fears.

During the years we were raising our two children, many, many children came through our door.  Some, I was glad to see leave.   Others, I was fairly neutral about.  There were (and are) some I genuinely enjoyed.  And there are a small handful I love almost as much as my own.

I fed two of them lasagna over the weekend, listened to them talk about their plans after college graduation, and marveled at the passing of time.

One is now a smiling red haired gentleman who is still as passionate about my peanut butter fudge as he was in the fifth grade.  The other one is a tall, blond, bearded hunter and fisherman.   And then there is the third.  My dark haired Trickster whose loyalty and love for his friends is just one of the qualities I admire.

Good friends.  Such good friends.

They are blessed and they don’t even know it yet.

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