Friday, June 17, 2011


Yesterday I described my delightful encounter with Sam, my first college roommate, at our 50th class reunion. I must admit to being surprised at the genuine affection that encounter engendered for someone I had not seen for over 50 years, especially since we were not close friends during our college days. I’ve been trying to understand this phenomenon ever since, and have decided that it represents one way in which time manifests itself.

Time has the effect of focusing our attention on the essential rather than the non-essential. Looking backwards into our lives the unimportant and frivolous, seem to fall away, allowing us to see or remember what we may have failed to see or have forgotten. At 72, I have much more respect and admiration for some of the very traits that I tended to avoid or dismiss at 19. My first experience with this phenomenon occurred with my father. As a young man he had habits and ideas that I could not tolerate, but later in our lifetimes, and even more so after his death, they simply disappeared from my mind. (I think it was Mark Twain who said, “when I was 17 I thought my father was really stupid, and at 21 I was amazed how much he learned in 4 years!”

In Sam’s case we share a common past and have both experienced the joys and difficulties of medical school and post-graduate training so I can appreciate the commitment he has made to the profession. Coming from my own-checkered career I am impressed with his achievements and the fact that he is still practicing medicine full time.

Tonight at dinner I will raise my glass of wine in a quiet toast to Sam.

Dad, when he didn't know so much (I thought.)

Dad with all of his acquired wisdom.

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