It was a dark and clear night. Caleb and revived the fire to a proper blaze, and we all sat back with our double scotches satisfied from the feast we had just consumed. And once again Sam, in his slow, teacherly way pointed out what a rare thing it is that we have with our Thursday Lad’s Night. And as usual I was kind of surprised. As soon as I got to college I gained and have maintained a strong group of friends. Over time it shifted to an inner ring of men and though there has been some coming and going over time it has been a constant in my life.
Perhaps because the core of us has consistently had a deep affection for C.S. Lewis and the Inklings. Or maybe it is a generational thing, obviously my generation tends to place a higher priority and value on friends than previous generations, for good or ill. It would be nice to think that mine has struck a good balance between family ties and friendships, but I doubt it. It could be that the lure of free whiskey, cigars, and reformed theology speaks to the heart of modern man on a base level. Whatever the impetuous, every time Sam leans back and address us young men about what a wonderful thing we have, I constantly feel like a fish who has just been made aware that he is in a thing called water.
Maybe I have been taking what I have for granted. Sword of Damocles like the future always takes away members of the group. We loose some to disagreements, marriage, kids, other cities, demanding jobs, the Pope*. Life simply happens, and one day it may kill this merry band of brothers. But for the time being I probably should start paying more attention to what I have. My default is more Martha like to be dashing about piling on the cheese, pulling cigars from the vault, selecting whiskeys, and I ought to sit like Mary and just take in what I have.
I know for a fact Sam doesn’t want this to end. That night he had imported from Germany two bratwurst courses and all the sides (I did not know cabbage could come in so many varieties or that anyone would want that). Caleb had likewise found Oktoberfest from the Rhineland, and I snagged some Franziskaner to go with the cigars and blocks of cheese. Ten of us crowded around the table, thanked the Lord, tucked in, and hoped the night would never end.
*Ironically one of our best members joined after his alignment with the Vicar of Satan. And he knows I make those jokes which is a testament to what a jolly good man he is, despite his dubious papal affiliations.