By: Dave Bowman
The Lone Ranger and Tonto…Abbott and Costello…Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter…C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien…Shrek and Donkey. Have you ever wondered what sparks a friendship? If you look at the list, you can certainly see that some are obvious and natural, but there is one that makes you stop and say… MMM! Who would have thought that after their bitter and contemptuous election battle in 1976, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter could form an unbreakable friendship that lasted until the ends of their lives. It just goes to show you that friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.
When I went off to college in 1976, I was venturing out to an unknown place where I was hoping to at least meet one or two people who I would not drive crazy and maybe get along with. When I settled into my dorm room, I unpacked my meager belongings and awaited my fate. As I looked around, I noticed a pair of soccer cleats hanging on the bedpost of the top bunk bed. Great! Here I was a bona fide band geek, proudly displaying my Marching Band Pen Desk Set Award, about to share a room with a jock. I bet he even brought his letter jacket! We eventually met, and wouldn’t you know, he was a decent fellow, and he became probably one of my closest friends in my life. He shared later that he saw my desk band award, and he thought, “Oh, great. A band geek!” Who would have thunk it!
As I ventured into my social work career in health care, I soon began to realize that the challenges and situations that my colleagues and I encountered created a bond. Through the years I have progressed through four different facilities, and each one has provided me with relationships that cannot be diminished. Which brings me to…“The Lunch Bunch.”
Where I am currently established, there is a group that meets for lunch on a daily basis, offering solace, support, laughter and lighthearted banter, which we coined “The Lunch Bunch.” It’s an eclectic group with members drifting in and out while still maintaining the core principle of being there for our friends. It is like the scene of a situation comedy with quirky characters: A van driver who can regale us with consistent updates on his favorite television shows (The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Housewives of Whatever County), two or three folks rehashing the latest episode of the hip MadMen around the water cooler (if we had one) and determining how stressful my day has been by how high I have pulled my hair on my head. We have even successfully solved the nation’s political and financial situation (not really). The relationships also foster a celebration of each other’s joys (weddings, births, graduations), as well as support and a shoulder to cry on for the sorrows and heartaches that come our way.
It was once said, “Friends are like walls. Sometimes you lean on them, and sometimes it’s good just knowing they are there.” I am blessed to have the friends I have in my life, and my hope is that you are able to find your “Lunch Bunch.”