Malcolm has a group of friends he has known since grade school – over 50 years of friendship and camaraderie. Known among themselves as the Buddy Gang, their bonds of friendship has survived and grown throughout high school, college, marriages, kids, jobs and Saturday night poker games. One or two members of the gang has moved out of the country, one or two has moved out-of-state. Most have stayed in Atlanta, separated only by asphalt with yellow-dotted strips and divided only by the Tech-Bulldog game. Game day is a bevy of phone calls, dog jokes and yelling at the television. By 4th quarter, the Lipton Onion soup dip with Ruffle Potato Chips and the Pale Ale beer has been reduced to a messy bowl, an empty chip bag and several drained bottles. If Tech wins, it’s a good day in Santa Fe – when the Dawgs conquer, I get to hear about it for days, those bastards!
Gray hair and lack of hair is the beta test for growing older, wrinkles and beer bellies are now the norm. Not only are their jokes locational and generational…. ERGER! The repeated stories of their glory days and youth have grown longer and a bit more fictional. On occasion, an old girl friend’s name rises to the surface of conversation, classmates are remembered, past teachers are read about in the obits. Hot chicks and cold beer have been replaced with chicken wings and a slighty chilled Chardonnay, a night out at the pub has become less expensive, arriving home earlier in the night, wire-rimmed 1.50+ readers adorn their foreheads instead of headbands and Malcolm’s rockin’ Volkswagen bus is now a Toyota Prius. Life has brought a multiple of changes to each one and yet, their friendship remains intact, solid and strong. Unbreakable. Undeniable.
Birthdays bring a round of emails and drinks full of best wishes and good cheer. The youngest member of the gang reminding his elders of which they will always older. A death in the family brings a shoulder, a hug, and a reality check to all of what matters most.
Emails and Skype connect the distance in their lives – phone calls and visits bring them together. On the rare occasions when they are all together at one time, the conversation is reminiscent and loud… really loud! An outsider would never know they hadn’t seen each other in months, or in some cases, years. They pick up right where they left off, months and years later, pounds heavier. Even with miles and time between them, there isn’t a doubt in any of their minds that the others are there for them and each other. A lifetime of friendship. A friendship that lasts a lifetime.
Nelson, Murrey, Josh, Michael, Ken, David & Malcolm – Shoulder to shoulder, the buddy gang will be friends for life.