I have been absent here for a few days because Ginger and I made a quick trip to Denver to see friends who used to live here in Guilford. Sarah used to be co-pastor with Ginger. Beth, Sarah’s wife and my friend, is a big Red Sox fan. When they moved about a year and a half ago, they told us we had to come west when the Sox played the Rockies. So we did.
We were in Denver for about forty hours.
One of those hours, Ginger and i got to spend with Cindi, who was a part of the youth group at University Baptist Church in Fort Worth where I was Youth Minister in the 80s. Thirty years later, we were sitting in the lobby of our hotel looking at pictures of her son and hearing about her life. She is now ten or twelve years older than I was when I was her youth minister.
I wasn’t on social media much on our trip, but when I did check in I found out there are several people who live in and around Denver that I didn’t know were there that made connections to my life in Kenya, at Baylor, in Houston, and in Dallas. People I know in a city where I had never been.
One of the things I learned from my youth group at UBC was how to be a friend. I got there in my mid-twenties as someone who had moved all of my life and had left a lot of people behind. In 1986 I called my friend Burt, whom I met at Baylor in the fall of 1976 to mark that we had known each other for ten years and I had been around him for all ten years. That was a first for me. A good number of the high schoolers had known each other since first grade. They knew how to have long relationships. I worked hard to pay attention.
Those days were my songwriting days with my friend Billy. He wrote and sang for a living–still does; I wrote songs, initially, for my youth group. In one of them, I tried to capture what I saw in the way they knew how to be together. I called it “Best of Friends.” The song came back to me after Cindi left the hotel and we headed out into our day with Sarah and Beth.
hide and seek snakes and ladders
I remember when
you and me and all that matters
best of times best of friends
stand and fall hurt and healing
say goodbye again
through it all the gift of feeling
worst of times best of friends
here and now make a promise
and take it to the end
heart to heart God is in us
all the time the best of friends
these days of sunshine
these days of rain
we pull together in days of pain
we share beginnings
we share the ends
it’s worth it all in these days
to be best of friends
We got home late last night, but I was up early to have coffee with my friend Peter, as is our custom every Thursday morning. I’m still moving around. I’m grateful tonight for the friends close by and those far away, for the ties that bind us, and for the unexpected moments that remind me it is worth it all. In fact, it is what matters most.
Also published on Medium.
Mercy me, how you did take me back some years. A good time for me, too. Often, as I pull off of east bound I-20 to turn north on Hulen and have to stop at that light, I remember how you talked about that light catching you on Sunday morning when you were in a hurry. It’s still a long light! Thanks for sharing this night. Love both of you..and the canines.
Love that song. Love this reflection on connections. Sorry I missed you in Denver…but I’m actually in North Dakota this week. You always have a ride from the airport or a place to stay if you ever need it in Denver. (and a good meal…although I’m not the cook in my family). Sending love to you and Ginger.
-Anne Jernberg Scalfaro
I love this post. I love the song.
“Best of Friends” (your song) is so great I feel like rubbing carrot cake in my hair. You always leave two lbs. of flesh and blood on the big yellow legal pad.
Such beautiful memories. Grateful you were at UBC in the mid-80s, and grateful for evenings singing those wonderful songs. Thank you for being an enduring part of our journey. Through it all, the gift of feeling. Yes.
Proud to call you a friend. Thinking of you and …Go Sox!
I didn’t know that this was one of your songs. It’s one of my favorites on that album! Just reading the words takes me back to WBC youth days. Lots of love old friend! ❤️