Sunday, January 15, 2012

Old Friends Are Like Good Wine

If you drink you know what a good wine is. Not that I am a good drinker or someone who can differentiate a great wine from an ordinary one but last Friday I think I enjoyed a really good whiskey which unfortunately I only took a small glass as I have to drive long distance home. I could have drank four or five but my family would have disapproved if anything happened.

It was a pre-arranged gathering of old friends and old classmates. It is easier to make friends with those you knew but lost touch than those you don't know. Friendship grown from a familiar past is likely to be more genuine and less motivated by anything than 'it's great to be friends' feeling. Anyway, I caught an old friend, someone I last saw like mmmm in December 1965 when we waved goodbye at the end of our school year. The only reference was an old class photo. Because he stayed less than hour away from where I stay I asked, 'NCK, how about joining our pre-Chinese New Year lunch? We go together.' I was glad he responded positively. Meeting up 46 years late is better than not. I wonder how he looked like. He sounded familiar and reachable over the phone. He set the meeting point I set the time. He said to look out for a black old Mercedes of a certain number. I in return gave mine.

At the appointed time I caught him in his car waiting. I like someone who is punctual. I got off and approached him and we greeted, two people who wouldn't have recognized each other in other circumstances. NCK is as ordinary as you can imagine, in sandals and untucked in shirt, and half shaved. Right away he apologized he couldn't go and explained why, a medical appointment for a growth that needed to be treated. I was disappointed and I knew others at the lunch would too but I understood. My long lost friend is genuinely sorry he couldn't go but asked to meet in his turf, because he like me prefer to be country folks than sleek city folks in sleek cars and frequenting posh joints. I couldn't leave empty handed so spent 15 minutes finding more of his past that we, his classmates of Form 5C of ACS Sitiawan, Perak, would love to know. We really should catch up before we are caught up.

Over lunch someone brought a bottle of 18 year old Glenfiddich Scotch Whiskey to celebrate our friendship. Although I don't know everyone at the table they all seems to me like old friends. Like the whiskey that sealed up a wonderful companionship we should all the more seek out the best of our past who are still walking and bring back wonderful memories of old friendship days. I am really hoping for a class reunion on the 50th anniversary of our last school year when we studied together, played together, teased each other and enjoyed the days of our own wine and roses ...

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