I didn’t count, but I’m guessing we were 20+ in total. We had pulled tables together and snatched chairs from elsewhere until there were seats for all. It was Friday, and Friday meant lunch. The location was always the same and could only be described as the area’s finest local dive – great food, great fun, great atmosphere all in one. It had a local flare with beer well before noon, free help-your-self popcorn, and fun over-portioned monthly specials on the menu.
We had been there many Fridays before. It was our end of the week landing place after hours of a common court sport. Our group could easily be described as a rag-tag bunch of folks, but that would be using by-gone language. In today’s lingo, we were an inclusive, open, accepting conglomeration of people accidentally brought together by a common interest.
At first, this Friday seemed to be no different than those of the past. We arrived sporadically and sat randomly next to whoever had arrived moments prior. We ordered drinks and lunch with little to no change in what we may have ordered the previous Friday.
We talked about who may have won or lost a match, the comical antics that may have occurred while at the gym, the person whose skills were off-the-chart great for that day, and other various sundries found in common friendly banter. Normally, I would have described the moment as talking about lots of stuff and nonsense with style!
But this particular Friday was a bit different.
In the midst of all the stuff and nonsense, as we laughed and chatted, Dave leaned across the tabled and said to me, “We’re lucky, aren’t we!” I looked at him and at first said the usual, “Yes we are!” But he continued. He talked about looking forward to lunches just like this one, to valuing friendships like those we had at this table of 20. To knowing that this was something unusual . . . special.
Those sitting nearby stopped and listened. He actually didn’t say that much, but what he said was all the right words. He said what everyone else knew and thought. He mentioned in less than a paragraph that it was of value to him to have a circle of friends who ate lunch most Fridays together. Where the conversation was simple and the laughter was easy. Where the food was cheap, but the friendship priceless.
The moment ended and we went on with our lunch. But an hour later, as I was in my car heading back to my home, I must admit that I was given pause by my friend Dave, who had simply and succinctly described something that I am still not sure that I can put into words.
There are times in my world – and in everybody’s world – when the living is hard. Life can be a bit challenging at times with problems that may or may not have solutions. My realistic side knows that not everything is always bright lights and daisies.
Yet, when I really think about it, life can also be pretty doggone simple. It can be and often is. I just have to look carefully for the moments when life is at its best. I have to be willing to see what is right before my eyes that might be glorious. I have to stop and take notice when the world is spinning in the right tempo in the right direction with just enough sass to make it fun.
All too often, I fail to stop and smell the roses of the world. I either speed through it, going a thousand miles per hour on some quest of mine or I simply am totally unaware of that which is happening around me.
Regardless of reason, I was gently reminded by Dave and my 19+ other lunch partners that I need to look up more and see the simple. Seeing the simple creates a huge path for me towards all that is positive, all that is creative, all that is fun.
Here’s hoping that everyone finds their Friday lunch group and sees the simple.