Yesterday, Keith, a guy I haven't talked to in more than 50 years, called up. We had gone to college together and although my mind does not delight in most school-related memories or chums, still I was delighted. Imagine that -- fifty years and suddenly, voila! Things had happened to me that he didn't know. And things had happened to him ... all of them utterly unbeknownst to me.
Keith said he would be up from his current home in North Carolina come October and perhaps we could get together. I said I would like that. I love hearing people's stories -- where they have been, what they have learned, what satisfactions and dissatisfactions they have encountered ... it's like watching a particularly delicious movie ... riveting.
It's fun having something happen out of the blue, with no apparent connection to the other things that are going on. A surprise.
At the moment, I have few and wispy memories of Keith. There was the fact that I unexpectedly beat him in a billiards competition and won the only trophy I ever received in college. There was the day -- a snow day -- at the college when we went into the pool-table room at 8 a.m. and didn't leave until midnight. The was his college sweetheart whom he had married and with whom he had had two children. And there was the unexpected statement that I was the "best natural athlete I ever saw." Me? Athlete? I wasn't clumsy athletically, but the 'best' kind of left me floundering. And there was the observation that I had been Keith's best friend. Boy, there is a lot of stuff I don't know about what others think or thought of me.
Anyway ... a surprise. One I look forward to filling in with particulars.
Former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins once observed that meeting your favorite author "is one of life's most reliable disappointments." A pointedly accurate observation for my money, and yet I look forward to the disappointments that the particulars of any individual might offer. It's like any good story ... turn the page and you don't know where you might end up. Isn't that the part that deserves the designation as "favorite?"