Thursday, January 13, 2005

Part II: 2004 A year of Friendship: Old friends

Becky and I started 2004 celebrating with

Ken and Sarah, a childhood friend and his wife, whom incidentally we feel we've known for just as long as Ken. I love how things seem to never change with old friends, even when a great deal of time passes between visits.

As the winter turned into spring, I started seeing a lot more of my best friend Sean, whom I've been near-brothers with for over 25 years now. We've lived in different cities for over half the years that our friendship has spanned, so it's been wonderful to be back within an hour's drive again.

The monthly phone chats I have with Chris remind me how happy I am to be back in contact with him after so many years - and how glad I am that we can still play a role in each other's lives while not having lived near each other in over 15 years.

Another great friend, Gary, whom I've only lived near for a few months of nearly a nine year friendship, and I remained in email contact nearly daily in 2004. In addition, we managed to see each other quite a bit through travel, including nearly three weeks together in Thailand - a week of that trekking through the jungle near Burma on elephants and bamboo rafts. Memorable to say the least.

Kevin (a friend from high school, my college roommate, and father of our God-children) dropped in for a fall visit to see another high school friend work his way to the final four on the reality show, the Benefactor.

Late night talks with Kevin played a major role in three years of living together at UGA - and yes, some things never change as we both enjoyed re-enacting our chats and laughs during his excellent visit.

Becky and I enjoyed grilling out with our old neighbors and great friends Meg, Brendan, and Cindy -- and sharing in the joy of Craig and Cindy's wedding with them at their reception party.

Sean and I were fortunate enough to visit with Cleo and Rosalie in August - a couple that really feel more like family to us than friends.

Sonia and Gary visited in the fall, reuniting friendships that started with cycling -- friends who we biked with from the Grand Canyon to Oregon a few years ago and who click so well that we always leave each other's company bummed that two of us live in Atlanta, one in DC, and the other in Seattle.

Becky and I attended Homecoming at UGA this fall, reuniting with many of our band friends -- a group that became our first family away from home nearly 15 years ago. We also saw more of one of my best buddies from college, Jason, as well as bag-pipers and new parents, Tom and Becky.

Dave, Sean, and I went winter backpacking together in the Smokies - I just love spending time with these guys together. Dave is a friend from high school - but one whom I realize I have so much more in common with now than I ever would have thought then. It's too bad we only get to hang out together on one annual backpacking trip!

Becky and I made it out to Colorado for an early December ski trip, and my heart was lifted when I spent time with so many great Colorado friends. These friendships were so important to Becky and me - it was very tough to leave our friends in Colorado, so we were quite happy to be reunited with so many special friends during our visit.

Becky and I felt very happy to live so close to our friend Sandy. Her travels and optimistic, energetic, and adventurous attitude gave us a jolt of energy every time we saw her, which is much easier now that we only live a few miles apart.

We closed out our year with an opportunity to spend time with Kevin, Michelle, Ryan, Kyle, Lori and Lori's new baby Emily.

Thanks to email, I also kept in touch with many other old friends, such as my Aconcagua tent-mate and other expedition members, great friends from former jobs, and many old neighbors from both Georgia and Colorado.

So, one reason that I'm calling my 2004 "A year of friendship" is that we were fortunate enough to spend time with so many old friends - to even have so many old friends in the first place. I suppose that this posting is a bit of a thanksgiving post! While our experiences with old friends had a lot to do with what this year was all about, making new friends also played a huge role - as will be explained in part III!

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