Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For my friend, Greg

I remember the first day we met.
I was only four years old, but the memory is as clear as any I can recall.
"Hi, I'm Darren."
"Hi, I'm Greg. Do you want to play?"
And that was it. From such simple begins a friendship was launched that continues today.
When I first met Greg, his family was moving into their new home. We lived out in the sticks, a rural area a that was a kind of its own little community. It took 20 minutes or so to drive in to town, and when you are a little kid that is a long time so we felt like we were way out in the boonies.
Greg's family moved in a couple years after mine, and when I met him he was smashing a humungous anthill with big rocks while his parents and whoever moved furniture into their home.
Smashing the anthill looked like fun so I figured I would get in on the action and that is how we spent our afternoon ñ dive bombing red ants with rocks.
For the next decade we were pretty much inseparable. We had fun together and we got into trouble together.
Like the time we nearly set an entire mountain on fire. It was a hot summer day and being kids and not too bright, we were having a good ol' time lighting small piles of grass on fire and then stomping the out.
We thought this was great fun, but each time we lit a small fire we would let it burn a little longer before putting it out. What we did not factor in was the wind and the tinder-dry conditions, because on what would turn out to be the last fire we did not put it out fast enough and kind of set a big patch of tumbleweeds ablaze.
We ran to his house where his dad, who ironically was a fire fighter, grabbed a hose and he and some neighbours put out the blaze before it did any real damage.
To say we were in trouble was an understatement.
We also spent countless hours riding our peddle bikes, climbing mountains and running through the woods.
At around 15 years old, we drifted apart. Our interests took us in different directions, and it was a few years before we would run in to each other again.
And when we did see each other it was like no time had passed ñ that is how true friendship works.
All of those memories of our childhood and the re-establishing of our relationship in my early 20s have been dominating my thoughts as of late.
You see, earlier this month I received a call from Greg's wife saying doctors had found a brain tumor.
I have not not seen Greg very much over the past few years. Life, work, kids and a variety of obligations got in the way.
But as he faces this most dire challenge, I am rallying to my friend's side. I wish I had spent more time with him over the past few years, but I always said I would see him another day, today was just too busy.
I do not know what the prognosis is for Greg. He will be having surgery and undergoing whatever medical procedures he needs.
I do not know what the future holds, but I know the past has taught me to value the important things. When you are so busy living life, you miss out on what life is all about.

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