Older man, new scenery

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I got a much needed change of scenery this weekend.

With my 30th birthday looming around the corner, I knew I would need to surround myself with friends so as not to sit at home and reflect on just how close I am to one-third of a century old (I’m taking it well so far don’t you think).

So my old roommate Adam Cooke and I made the drive down to Wilmington Thursday evening after work for what we knew would be a fun filled weekend.

We used to make the trip almost every other week, but our work schedules hadn’t allowed us the time to go since before Christmas.

Having been there all weekend, I now wonder how I possibly went without it for so long.

I have had the pleasure of meeting some great people while visiting there over the last few years.

Many have since become friends and we all try to get together whenever Cooke and I come into town.

The time I spend with them is invaluable and rarely includes a dull moment.

Of course, with a party list of names that include Sage, Charlie Murphy (darkness), Goose (or Swan), Weefa, Dar, Mary, JD Word, Cooke, RD (their nickname for me) and a new acquaintance I nicknamed Cola, it’s not hard to imagine why.

It didn’t take long after arriving before we were all sitting at the table, frosty beverage in hand, playing cards and laughing about old times.

It’s moments like those that make me realize how lucky I am to have such a great group of friends.

As my regular readers know, I grew up in a military family and although I wouldn’t change it if I could, it did make keeping friends an almost impossible feat.

Moving every couple of years made me adept at making new friends, yet never numbed the pain that goes along with saying goodbye to a friend you know you will never see again.

It is because of those experiences that I value so much the friends I have now.

They have become my extended family and it is around them that I feel the most comfortable, the most free to be myself.

I met them a few years ago during one of the lowest times of my life and will be forever grateful for their unquestioned acceptance of me, despite my emotional baggage. I was simply a friend of a friend and they certainly didn’t have to go out of their way like they did to make me feel so welcome.

They rarely judge me for my faults and always support me in my choices, regardless of whether they support the choice itself.

It isn’t often that I have to lean on them for support, but when I have they never cease to amaze me with their willingness to offer encouragement.

Their presence is a constant reminder to me of how great life can be when you surround yourself with the best it has to offer.

To some that means Bentleys and bling.

To others it means a big house and lots of children.

To this Road Dogg…it means his Wilmington crew.

I’d like to hear from you. If you agree or disagree with my opinion on something, have an idea for a column topic or just want to let me know someone is reading this every once in awhile please e-mail me. My address is david.friedman@r-cnews.com. See ya next week!