Eating out was a rarity when I was a kid. Whenever we had the pleasure, it was a special occasion. After my brother left home, and while Dad was still traveling with his business, Mom and I would go out to our favorite restaurants–none of which are still in business today. Sometimes when we went out, either Mom and I or all of us as a family, we’d run into friends, and next thing ya know, we were pushing tables together to make room for everyone. As a family, we always had fun; but as a family eating with friends, the fun was amplified. Good times squared. And it was always that way. I don’t remember a single time when we ran into friends that they didn’t invite us to join them or vice versa.
So that’s why yesterday took me by surprise.
MSB and I have lived here almost twenty years, and for the most part, they’ve been lonely for me. Years ago, my best buddies moved away–the ladies I’d do things with, go places with, call for no reason. Only one can I call for no reason now. The others moved away and severed ties. But while they were here, we were best buds. For the most part, all of us were new to this area and turned to each other for friendship. We were all neighbors. My neighbors now are . . . private, I guess would be fair to say.
I love my church and the people in it, but I’m not as involved as I should be. Part of the reason is, between Mom and me, we’ve been pretty ill the past several years. I’m either with her in Bryan, or here being sick. When I am well, we run to see the kids. So, I’m not blameless. I could be more involved.
Still, something hit me as rather strange, and I’m wondering if things have changed that much. Is this a common experience in the 21st century?
Yesterday, MSB and I went to a restaurant after services. Two couples from our church were already there, each couple at their own table. I didn’t see one of them until they were leaving, but we greeted the other, then chose a table for ourselves. There we were, three couples, all from the same church, sitting at three different tables. As they left, each pair acknowledged us, and the wife of one stopped to give me a hug. It’s not that we’re not loved, but . . . isn’t that a bit odd, or is it just me?
So here’s what I want to know: What’s your experience?