This past weekend my wife and I had the distinct privilege of spending some
relaxing time in one of those typical central Florida RV parks that is home to the
thousands of snowbirds who choose to winter in FL.
But this wasn’t any old RV park. It was one that catered to Canadians. In fact, all the
streets in the park were named after NFL Hockey teams: Maple Leafs, Canadians,
Islanders…..etc. And as we strolled around the park for our leisurely walks, I’d say by
the license plates that the park was about 80% full of Canadians.
I’d venture to say that most middle Georgians aren’t that familiar with Canadians;
certainly we weren’t until Blue Bird asked us to go up to Ontario in 1989 to oversee
the operations at Canadian Blue Bird. At the time we weren’t that excited to go. After
all, we had just built a new home about a year earlier and we hated to leave it as well
as our middle Georgia friends. But God knew best; the nine years we spent in Canada
were the best of my career and the best for our family. In fact, my daughter and one
of my sons married Canadians.
But these weren’t just any old Canadians we met there; they were our old motorcycle
buddies. Now be careful as you read this not to put on us your motorcycle stereotype
images; we’re not your typical bikers prowling the streets looking for trouble. No, in
fact when we would ride together we’d always start our days ride in a circle with
arms locked together in a short prayer meeting thanking the Lord for the privilege of
riding through His creation and asking for safety. And talking about riding through
His creation, over a period of nine years, we had three of the most wonderful weeks-
long rides together you can imagine:
Through the Canadian Rockies
The Desert Southwest, and
The last of these rides was ten years ago in The Smokies as they came several
thousand miles to meet us there and help us celebrate our 40th anniversary.
Invariably, as we get together, we rehash the stories of previous rides and the stories
always seem to get bigger and funnier. In fact, this year we met in a Cracker Barrel
restaurant at the big round table for eight just behind the receptionist and the
stories and laughter got so loud that the whole crowd gave a collective sigh when we
got up to leave; the place suddenly went silent and some asked us not to leave; they
were vicariously enjoying the ride with us!
I believe it was during that dinner that Ray Glenn, from Toronto, said these words
that I chose for today’s title: “The older I get, the more precious my friends become!”
Those words have been ringing in my ears ever since. There is nothing more precious
in this life than friends you can laugh with, cry with and trust. Maybe, just maybe,
that trust comes from the fact that we all share a common faith in our Redeemer,
Jesus Christ. I think so.
Well, all of these friends are in their 70’s now and some closer to 80. Is there still
another ride in the future or has that chapter passed? That’s a question I posed to my
wife over breakfast. I don’t know. But I do know this: Those are my “Precious Old
Friends” and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world!
I hope you have some precious old friends too. If so, reach out to them, even if it’s
been ten years since you’ve seen them as it was with us. I bet you and they will be
glad you did!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!
Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living
assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column
you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org