October 26

Old Friends

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It takes a long time to make an old friend.

I meet a good few people wherever we go and some are very interesting amazing people and in twenty or thirty years some of them will be old friends. It just takes that long. Sometimes you meet someone, and you just hit it off and you know that they will become old friends. But you can’t just go out and replace an old friend once they are gone. It’s just not possible. Among old friends are some really special ones. The ones who knew you when you were young. Ones who knew your parents and some of the crazy people from back then who are long gone. And the places where we grew up. Trees that we climbed and fields and forests that we played in. Are we the same person that we were? Do we meet people and share ourselves quickly and unreservedly like we used to? Is that what it takes to get to know someone?

Sometimes I am too quick to judge someone and that is my loss since amazing people with amazing stories are everywhere and don’t always look as you would expect them to look. I spent an afternoon with Rory Allen as he took us on a tour of Ballymaloe House in East Cork, Ireland. Rory is in his late sixties and has lived his entire life there. He pointed out places they used to play as children. Which bedroom was his. Stories of friends he made for life when families from London would come to stay in the house in the sixties with children his age.

Rory will be an old friend.

 Every year they would come back to stay and the friendships would deepen. Rory has a lot of old friends. He took us through the little door up behind the small bar that led up through the old castle part of the house that was built by Normans. The house and farm are old friends for Rory and to hear him speak of the various nooks and crannies is a privilege. Every time he gives someone a tour a different set of stories come out as various items and rooms will spark another memory and off he goes. It was the best part of three hours gone, by the time we said goodbye. Rory will be an old friend. It might not even take that long.


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