We get together about every 6-8 weeks. We all wish it was more frequent, and maybe it will be in days to come. But for now we take what we can get, and it is enough. A few years ago I asked these men if they would be interested in getting together from time to time - to eat, drink, laugh, cuss, tell some tales, that kinda thing. Everybody wanted in, no hesitation. They didn’t know one another but they all knew me, and sometimes I’ve found you just have to know one man, and that is enough.
We bonded quickly. I’m thankful for that. We’ve got some stories by now. One man had a heart attack, scared the hell out of everybody. He’s better now. One man and his wife are expecting their first child soon, a baby girl. He’s so excited, and so are we. One man saw the dream of publishing a book of poems become a reality. We’re so proud of him. One man is reveling in being a father to two wild-hearted sons. We’re so proud of him too. And one man, me, is thankful I took the risk to invite a group of men who didn’t know one another, to get to know one another, to eat a little, drink a little more, laugh and cuss and pray and celebrate and do our part to debunk the notion that friendships between men eventually devolve into Neanderthal-pissing-match-competitive-bullshit foolishness. That’s not to say friendships between men can’t go that direction. It’s to say they don’t have to. We’re living proof that there is a surprising richness to be found when men gather and take a chance on one another. You don’t have to know everyone in the group at first. But it seems to help to know one.