3649 – Sunday, May 5, 2019

Over the past sixty or so years, friends and friendships have been a puzzle for me.  I have often wondered what happened to many of my once close and sometimes best friends.  There was: Johnny the Communist, Tommie the Evangelical, Steve the Orthodox Jew, Dick the Inscrutable, Greg the Contrarian, Linda the “I haven’t a thing to say to you.”  There was my ex-wife who said, “We don’t have anything in common anymore.”

There were many who I fell out with over McCarthy versus Kennedy and Bernie Sanders versus Hillary.  These I can understand.  It is the ones like Linda (whom I have not a clue what I said or did to her that caused her to decide to stop talking to me) that keep me awake at night.  My ex-wife is also a puzzle since for about 15 or more years after we were divorced we remained friends.  She even came to my second marriage ceremony with Karen along with her brother and sister.  Then inexplicably we have “nothing in common anymore” and I have not heard from her since.

I won’t lie and say it does not matter.  It matters a great deal to me, although I am not sure if it is because I cannot figure out why these friendships ended or because I still care about each of these former and once friends.  I am reminded of the refrain from the famous New Year’s song Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns, “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”  I often wish I could simply forget them and not bring them to mind.  However, that is easier said than done.  These lost friends weigh on my thoughts and conscience too frequently disrupting my sought after tranquility.

The loss of a friend is a very profound chapter in one’s life.  It is not like “losing” something.  You cannot just go to the “lost and found” and retrieve it.  Often, I suspect “lost” friendships can never be retrieved.  Furthermore, you might grieve over something you lost but you will soon get over it.  With lost friendships, you never really get over the grief.  Lost friendships are accompanied by pain, hurt, disappointment, sadness, worry and especially guilt and self-recriminations.  “Was it something I said or did?”  “How was I responsible?”

Even lost loves do not compare to a lost friendship.  With a lost love, it is probably clear who or what was the agent responsible for the breakup.  It is also usually clear, who is leaving whom, since one person typically initiates the breakup.  Breakups of friendships are not as cut and dried.  They may happen over many weeks, months or years as you drift further and further apart.  And as with my ex-friend Linda, I have not a clue as to what I said or did that led to our recent estrangement.  Even my ex-wife told me why she did not want to see me anymore, albeit a very strange explanation for a sixteen-year marriage and a fifteen-year friendship.

Well, time to get on with the day.  I am going to accompany Karen to her Lutheran ancestors’ church today.  A church where Karen was also baptized.  After church we are going to a Swedish Brunch in West Sweden (Where else?) at Grace Lutheran church (A few miles from Karen’s church).  For a “free will donation” they will have the following goodies:

  • Swedish pancakes
  • Swedish meatballs
  • Egg bake
  • Potato sausage
  • Fruit cup
  • Swedish breads

I don’t think that Italians have anything to compare to egg bake and Swedish pancakes, but Swedish meatballs cannot compare to my Grandmother’s Italian meatballs and potato sausage tastes like someone left the good Italian sausage out of the casing.  Oh, I should not forget Lefse.  Karen’s favorite bread in the whole world, which on first taste I once compared to buttered newspaper.  Lefse and even lutefisk have since grown on me and I look forward to a lutefisk dinner now and then.  Mostly then.

That’s all for now folks:

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”
– Winnie the Pooh

 

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