I was a young man when I first met your Dad. Wet behind the ears and into the world without the watchful eye of parents for the first time. We were part of a like-minded bunch associated with the University football team (very loosely in your Dad’s case). I can’t begin to tell you how many scrapes and situations we got ourselves into, but I seem to recall most of them ending up in someone’s kitchen the next day in hoots of laughter telling the tales and remembering the day before. Even then, Chris stood out as having a seemingly endless supply of friends, anecdotes, jokes, and fancy dress. Not only that, but he possessed the ability to knuckle down to work when it was required too. If he wasn’t such a nice guy – you’d be green with envy!
I was a man when I left university. Into the bright lights of employment we went. The crowd dispersed, but so tight were the bonds that it wasn’t too long before the weekend get-togethers were organised (though I don’t know how we did this – nobody had a mobile phone in those days!). This is where your Dad developed his infamous “triple booked” social diary as he found it almost impossible to prioritise one group of friends over another. We’d all revel in our relatively healthy disposable income and dance the night away, whether it was in Leuven, London or Liverpool.
I was married when we all started to celebrate our thirtieth birthdays. Meetings got fewer and farther between, but the locations became more exotic (from Sydney to New York to Lisbon to Lancashire (!)) and our partners became an equally important part of the gang. The strength of the friendship was still very much alive, with Chris the glue that seemingly bonded us all together. Many people have commented just how big-hearted Chris was and all I can add to that is there wasn’t a single occasion when your dad’s generosity of spirit ever relented. We’d laugh and joke about the good old times until the tears ran down our faces.
We’re all older now. We still regularly meet up a group, but we don’t talk about “the good old days” much anymore. We talk about you……and my kids…. and everyone else’s kids. And that’s just the way we like it.
Jude – the time will come for you to create your own adventures – just remember that you can achieve everything you want, knowing that even though “triple booked”, Dad will be keeping a very proud eye on you. Just make sure you look after your Mum. x