"How terribly strange to be seventy. Memory brushes the same years.
Silently sharing the same fears."
(Old Friends: words and music by Paul Simon)
Seventy ain't what it used to be, thank the good lord. It's more likely to be the time for a "third quarter" life crisis — similar to the old cliche of a mid-life crisis — than it is to be a time of hanging out on a park bench, waiting for death.
Our close friends, J. and B., visited Buck and me this week. They had been on a pilgrimage, of sorts — a road trip of the heart.
They packed the car from their home on the South Carolina coast and drove down, down, down toward Florida, along the blue highways. They stopped to visit a seldom-seen cousin, to visit J.'s old college alma mater in Gainesville, the old homeplace where he was raised in Tallahassee, and various haunts in Alligator Point and St. Marks. B. brought along her digital Pentax, equipped with her late father's lenses from his old traditional Pentax, and opted to be creative photojournalist for their summer odyssey.
J. and B. rolled into our gate late Monday afternoon. Buck and I met them at their car. The warm sweet spice of perfectly ripe peaches engulfed us when they opened the car door. They had dribbled a juicy line of Mac's Pride peaches from a farm stand in McBee, South Carolina all the way to Longleaf.
B. had filled a crate in their trunk with beaucoup of her favorite music cd's to share with me. I'm listening to French cafe songs right now. Ooh la la, cher.
For three days, while J. and Buck reminisced over college exploits and dreams of the future, B. and I talked books, writing, music and dreams of the future.
After lunch at The Crab Shack yesterday, we waved them back up the road. They planned to go off-Interstate again and spend last night at Waycross, Georgia near the Okefenokee Swamp.
Some might think that J., at age 70, was making this pilgrimage of old memory hot spots for himself alone. But no, the photograph album and journal B. is making of their trip is for J.'s 93 year old mother, the fabulous Kathryne.