Sunday, May 06, 2007

Saturday night lessons

Life is so funny. Here, pull up a chair, and sit down a minute. Order what you'd like. We haven't talked like this in a while.

Gotta tell you about my weekend. Boy, I was in need of some R&R in the worst way. Deadlines, jury duty, health issues --- it gets to ya after awhile, you know?

Flirted with getting out of town for the weekend, escaping to the solitude of my personal little Walden. Made serious plans also to go hear Robin sing tonight.

Didn't do either. But had a great Saturday night.

Met two of my favorite friends from the so-called "good ol' days" (are we too young still to use that phrase?) for Chinese. Worked better than any doctor's medicine.

The conversation ranged from literature and writing to politics to petty gossip. The three of us all, truth be told, have wide-ranging and varying personal philosophies and life experiences.

But that's why it was so much fun. Show me somebody who only wants to be around those of a like-minded nature, and I'll show you an idiot.

Lincoln, more so than any of our other presidents, instinctively knew this. He surrounded himself with most of his major rivals for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination. Four years later, he tapped a Democrat (gasp!), Tennessee Sen. Andrew Johnson, to be his vice president.

It worked out pretty well. I know a host of leaders at all levels who would be well served to follow Lincoln's example. Even Richard Nixon saw the value in reading books, newspapers, magazines and position papers that were light-years apart from his own politics.

But I digress.

I learned a lot, I tell ya. Heard about books I long to read, ideas I need to ponder, places I have to visit and movies I need to rent. I only hope I contributed about half of what I soaked up.

In short, Saturday night was one of life's great moments. You keep it close, pull it out every now and then when you need it, think back on it when the world is too hazy.

Then, to top it off, later I sat on my best friend's back porch, enjoyed a fine late spring Saturday evening and woke up this morning rejuvenated and ready to face the world again on Monday. Brunch this morning with two other special friends was the proverbial icing on the equally proverbial cake.

I may not know much. But if life has taught me anything, it's this:

You can't ever stamp a price tag on good friends. They are life's most precious commodity. Don't take them for granted; don't be too busy for them.

And here's something else I've figured out:

Don't ever be afraid to hear thoughts different from your own. In fact, the wisest among us should seek it regularly. Whether you agree (or disagree) doesn't really matter. In fact, you might be surprised what you learn --- both about this crazy roller coaster ride we call life, and about yourself.

Cause, after all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Or lose.

Guess that's enough blabbing for tonight. Excuse me a minute, will ya? I'm going to put a quarter in the jukebox. You like jazz? I feel like a little Coltrane tonight.

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