Thursdays at 4P are ping pong afternoons for me with our friend George (to-the-South). Ever since my retirement more than two years ago, he and I have been regulars batting the ping pong ball back and forth. Today, Hannah and I mix it up and our gift is to invite our friend Jim to play doubles with us and George.
Recently Jim’s wife died. When someone dies, naturally there is a flurry of interest and concern over the first few weeks. And then a month later, there’s a little less and so on. Close friends and family do not lose touch, but those on the next “orbit from the sun” of relationships often move on. Though we are “Saturn” friends, Hannah and I continue to want to stay connected with Jim.
Those in long term excellent marriages like Jim’s get used to the daily intertwined-ness of spousal lives. Hannah is in the next room now doing her thing while I draft this blog entry in the backroom. But I know she’s there and there is much comfort knowing that we will have a glass of wine together this evening. When two minus one leaves just a single one, it leaves a hole; often a very big hole. As we play this afternoon, we laugh as we lunge for the ball past our partners. We laugh some more. Some ping pong, some laughter, some popcorn, and a beer with Jim are today’s gifts. We’ll do this again soon.