Thirty years ago this year, I walked into Dublin’s catering college for the first time, nervous and excited. It was a goal I had worked towards for many years and I couldn’t wait to see what the coming years would bring. New skills, adventure, self-discovery and, of course, friendship. I had a wonderful time at college and am happy that I’m still in touch with many of my cohorts. Thanks to the internet, we are always connected, but we also make the effort to meet in person every few years. The group gets smaller and smaller each time we meet, but the comradery is always the same. It’s like we left college last year, not twenty-six years ago!
Recently, Nemo played host to a group of college friends in their sixties who have been friends for over forty years. Like my own classmates, they make the effort to meet every few years. It was a delight to watch them chat and laugh as we floated gently down the river. They swam and canoed like teenagers, splashing and teasing each other as only old friends can.
We made an unscheduled stop at an old homestead when the owner shouted hello from the shore. The property was beautiful, with a traditional wooden house and a swing made from branches. As an added surprise, the owner produced a barrel of homemade schnapps and poured a generous measure for all our guests. With tummies warm and smiles wide, they climbed back onto the raft for a relaxing evening.
It was while I was at college that I first discovered the music of Simon & Garfunkel. I remember listening to their tune, Old Friends, while travelling back home on the bus. I found the lyrics both sad and wonderful. How terribly strange to be seventy. But how wonderful, especially if you’re with an old friend. I wish this group many more happy reunions, and look forward to meeting with my own classmates when I get to travel again.
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