The text came in just after 5pm last Saturday night.
"How far away are you from Syracuse?"
I thought it interesting considering the text came from my friend who lives near San Diego, 750 miles away. I responded and he texted back.
"We're in town," he typed. "Come on over."
I found out where they were and met them at a Chilis. It's the first time I had seen my friend in twenty-nine years.
I first met Daren August, 1985. We were both LDS missionaries living in Denmark. Daren had been there about a year before. I was relatively new. He'd been in the city of Odense (the town of H.C. Anderson's birth...) a month before me. We served together for only two months. That's how things so sometimes. Since that summer, we saw each other multiple times until he went home, then only a few times after that.
Saturday we were both decades older, each with families of four kids, each having graduated college, both working a long time for our respective employers. I joined a dinner party already in progress. I met Daren's wife, son, and other family members. Had I not already eaten dinner, I would have pigged out.
I can honestly say it was such pleasure to be in their company. I had a great time.
I've always kind of been in awe of Daren. One of the first things I found out about him was he was a surfer before he came to Denmark. They guy was smooth, too. Fancy dresser, and had no trouble contacting people to see if they were interested in learning more about Jesus Christ. And now I found myself sitting across from him learning about his life. I was still in awe.
Before I left I got a picture with him and his wife. There's the three of us, two beautiful Californians, and me looking a few years away from becoming the grandfather in Up. We said our goodbyes and made possible plans for our family to visit, soak up the San Diego sun, and learn how to surf. I hope we can swing it. I hate the thought of waiting another three decades to hang out. Thanks for the invite Daren and Tammara--let's do it again sometime.