In just a few days, I will enjoy a lovely dinner with friends from the past. These are men with whom I have worked over the years. I’ve known some of them only professionally. Others, well, I’ve watched their kids grow up, get degrees, and marry. I officially feel old. At least one other is someone for whom I have the utmost respect. He is older than I, far wiser, funnier in his own way, but I’ll never concede better looking.
We shall all sit around a large table at a restaurant that is probably nicer than most of us could have afforded when we first met. There may be a beer or two, but most of the guys either never drank much alcohol, had problems and stopped, or just grew wiser with age and don’t like how it makes them feel.
We will talk about the old days; how things were better back then. We may even take responsibility for our complicity in making things worse today in our pursuit of the American Dream. We will laugh. There will be a tall tale or two. I will recall the day that I played the worst joke that ever backfired. The guy who endured it will tell me, again, that “It.was.not.funny.” I’ll see his point but I’ll disagree. It was funny, but probably not to him. In before-I-get-there retrospect, maybe I won’t disagree with him so much.
My friend, John, will make a poignant reference or two because he is a gentleman to the end, assuredly more than most. Another friend, Jim, the one who is not as pretty as I, will remember and smile. Neal, will give us the perspective of the guy who always lived his career on the edge and did what he thought was right, even if it meant professional consequences for him. I will laugh, listen, chat and express the regrets that only hindsight’s 20/20 vision provides. There may be others who will attend. Maybe not.
The only thing for sure is that all of us, in our own way, will be deeply saddened that the only reason we will all be together for this reunion is that our former mentor and boss…one of the true pioneers of modern radio and television…our friend, Bud Paxson, has died.