TRAVEL THERE: BECAUSE FRIENDS ARE WORTH THE EFFORT
Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest do not make up for face time. Sure it’s great to read that tweet or see a picture, but even the next best thing to being there isn’t as good as actually being there.
The Disco Kings of Virginia Beach
In case you didn’t already know, the guy on the left is my long-suffering husband, Bill. Next to him is Ludger. They met as young men. Bill was from Egypt, building a career in food management. Ludger, from Germany, worked for a sports equipment company based in his home town. Somehow, in the seventies, these two immigrants met one another, became roommates and built a friendship that has endured through the years.
Fast Forward to the Nineties
Regardless of their disco nights, Bill and Ludger’s both went on to have very successful careers. Ludger eventually became the VP of American operations for his company. Bill moved to Dallas, transitioned into technology and built a profitable computer hardware company. When Bill and I called Ludger to tell him we were engaged, we discovered we’d only beat Ludger to the news by a few moments. He and Tammy were about to pick up the phone and share the same news with us.
Ludger and Tammy came to Dallas for our wedding. A few weeks later, we went to Germany for theirs. What’s more, we even went on their honeymoon. When people say they’ve had the trip of a lifetime, they are talking about our trip to Germany. From the beautiful wedding in an ancient cathedral to ballet in Schönbrunn Palace, it was a remarkable experience.
The Years in Between
Life gets in the way of good intentions. Tammy and Ludger set about having a family almost immediately. Bill and I didn’t take that route. Over the years the two couples found reasons to get together, but in truth, the occasions were few and far in-between. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, we were all just very,very busy and we didn’t exactly live around the corner from one another.
A month or so ago we got a call from Tammy. Ludger’s birthday was coming up and their whole family was going to an island paradise for the celebration. Along the way, they’d have an overnight layover in Houston. Was there any chance we could get to Houston to see them? Are you kidding? Of course we’d make the four hour drive! Their girls’ ages were in single digits the last time I saw them and since the youngest one is graduating from high school in June, that’s been a long time. Though we’ve managed to connect here and there over the years, Bill more frequently than me, I have to confess I’d never even met their teen-aged son.
Ludger had no idea what was going on. Tammy almost gave it away a couple of times, but was able to make the necessary saves. Bill and I checked into the hotel a few hours before the family’s flight arrived and waited until they were seated in the restaurant downstairs before we made our appearance. The result was the smiles you see above.
The reunion was joyous beyond description. They invited us to tag along to their paradise, but we just had too many irons in the fire. However, we don’t plan to let decades pass again before we all get together again. Friendships are too valuable and the distractions we have either move away from home or pass away.