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American Past Time
A novel by Len Joy

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not So Old Friends



I grew up in Canandaigua, New York. My family moved there when I was two and we stayed until I was in my third year of college when we moved forty miles east to Skaneateles. I spent one summer in Skaneateles and then got married and moved to Chicago.

When Suzanne and I would return to New York for summer vacation or holidays we’d split our time between her folks and mine and it didn’t leave much extra time, so except for high school reunions, I seldom returned to Canandaigua. Some of my friends still lived there, some had moved away, and we all were busy with our adult lives.

Yesterday I drove over to Canandaigua for a visit. There is something special about those friendships that are forged when we’re kids. Don Bauch (he’s the one on the right) drove down from Rochester and we met at Jim Walsh’s driving range. (Jim’s the guy in the middle). We had lunch, a couple of beers and then we went back to our regular lives. It’s always easy to talk with those guys. It doesn’t feel like years have passed. We reminisced about our friend Tod who died this spring, and then we talked mostly about the same things as we did forty years ago. Of course we don’t talk about girls anymore. Well, Jim and I don’t anyway. Don has more stories because he keeps running into women who knew him back when he was in high school. That never happens to me.

I’ve known those guys since I was ten years old. It’s hard to become self-important and adult-like when someone knows all of the dumb things that you did as a kid. This would be the place where I would share a couple of Jim and Don’s youthful indiscretions, but I’m returning in two weeks with Suzanne for our fortieth high school reunion and I fear retaliation.

However Jim doesn’t have internet service so I think it is safe to mention that in addition to his driving range, he works at the Finger Lakes Race Track as an ambulance driver (he said he applied for a jockey position, but they turned him down.) He drives the ambulance behind the horses when they race and if there is an accident he’s supposed to scoop up the injured jock and drive him to the real ambulance crew that will take him to the hospital. He says the jockeys complain when he doesn’t stay close enough to the horses. I think that if they knew how Jimmy drove in high school they wouldn’t want him getting any closer.

Workout: Yesterday I swam for about twenty minutes pushing the pace. I’m hoping to have a redemptive swim in this tri that’s coming up. This morning I ran the 5k course and I was feeling great for the first two miles, but my hamstring started to tighten up on the last mile and I had to slow considerably to be safe. I finished the course in 24:56, which is not a good pace. I can’t seem to shake these nagging bothersome, minor ailments. My back is stiff, and then my hamstrings tighten and now in addition I have an annoying stuffed-up ear. Okay somehow all of these things are going away by race day.

Weight: Too heavy. Too many happy hours, Mom’s cookies and restaurant dinners. But I’m enjoying myself.

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