Have you ever heard this song? Because I can’t get it out of my head.
Went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name
No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same
But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself
On Sunday I went to a 4th of July party at my old friend Mark’s house. I’ve been in a weird place ever since.
I was so excited when the FB invitation hit my newsfeed 2 weeks ago. Mark is part of my old crew, a group of guys that I spent almost every social minute with. Mark, Scott, Paul, Ernie (real name Paul) and Johnny D (real name John) and I were inseparable from our supermarket days. My immediate reaction to the invitation was of a reunion with the boys, to laugh and drink beers and reminisce about the fun days we had. Those were the only days of my life that I can honestly call the “good old days.” Seeing these guys meant a lot to me because I have almost completely lost touch with all of them with the exception of Scott. I went to the page and clicked “going”.
Mark owns a beautiful 2nd home on a private lake in ME, not too far from me. If the party was being held in MA, where we all hail from, I may not have gone due to the distance. Who am I kidding, I know that I would have tried to talk myself out of going anyway. While initially excited about seeing the guys, when I started thinking about my situation I began to have second thoughts.
What if I don’t feel well that day?
I have been day to day lately, the fatigue has been unpredictable and brutal.
Will there be swimming?
I’m not wearing shorts, my legs are swollen and embarrassing.
It’s supposed to be hot.
Again, the legs.
What if I don’t know anyone?
Scott and Mark will be there.
What if someone asks me what I’ve been up to?
Deal with it when it happens.
I decided that it would depend on who was going. I checked the page for responses and a couple of the guys had already declined. I texted Scott, if he was going I would make the trip. As it turns out, he was thinking the same way, he was going if I was. It was a date.
The party started at 2, I decided to arrive by 3. Arriving late is great when you want to make an inconspicuous entrance. Scott also had set his sights on 3 so I was hoping he would be on schedule.
I have been to Mark’s house once before but I wasn’t comfortable with doing it by memory so I turned on the iphone NAV. No signal. I decided to head in the general direction and hope for a signal. I missed a couple of turns and was about 5 miles away when my phone suddenly caught a signal. After all of the backtracking I arrived exactly at 3. When I got out of my truck I saw Scott and his wife Dana pulling in, Perfect.
Scott is the one guy in the group that I have maintained steady contact with. He is a good friend. Even when I was negligent with the communication, I would periodically get a text from him checking in. He has been diligent in asking how I am doing in life while most aren’t because they are afraid that if they ask me how I am…I might actually tell them. Since our mutual friend Paul passed away from Liver Cancer, we have been closer. Scott was very close to Paul, aware that he was sick and he took it hard. Understandably, because Paul was a saint among mere mortal men. I, being the guy that basically dropped out of sight didn’t know anything until Paul had passed. I was a combination of crushed and guilt-ridden. It really drove home the cost of losing touch. When he got out of the car I gave him a bro-hug. He looked great. He’s lost at least 60 pounds since the last time I saw him. I congratulated him.
I gave Dana a hug, I haven’t seen her in forever. She and Scott have been together for a long time and they have 2 great kids. I haven’t seen her in person in years but Facebook keeps us in touch. She used to always try to get us together as couples but it never happened.
We walked down the hill together, I was glad not to walk down alone. The view that awaited us was amazing. The house was enormous, facing the lake. Lots of windows and decks. The lawn was huge, leading to a private swimming area and boat dock. Games like Cornhole and Volleyball were set up for later and there were about 25 people in lawn chairs enjoying the breezy summer day. Mark immediately greeted us and proceeded to invite us in and give the tour. The house was perfect, well decorated with plenty of rooms but livable, not glamorous. We then went to mingle with the guests, a combination of his family, co-workers, neighbors and business associates. We were introduced to a few and I shrunk into a lawn chair next to Scott and Dana and tried to blend in.
to be continued…