I met my first friends in the summer of 1966 at Hidden Falls Ranch (a Christian youth camp on the Palo Duro). Sure, I had friends growing up in Canyon, but real friends—I believe one needs to be a friend to have one, and before that summer I didn’t know how.
To be a friend, that is. The kids at Hidden Falls taught me—taking me in when there were so many reasons not to, loving me unconditionally, believing in me. Heck, I didn’t even believe in myself.
That was 50 years ago, and I still keep in touch with Meg (Austin), Gary (Australia), Kinne (Oregon), Lee (Washington State), and Ann (Amarillo). There are more: You know who you are even if my aging mind can’t name you right now. 🙂
I made new friends every year I worked at HFR, including from ’76 to ’80 when I became the director. Then, the folks were younger than I—I was their boss—but we were friends, too, and I still keep up with them, mostly on Facebook.
C.S. Lewis said that friends (unlike lovers) stand side by side, not face to face. We do so because we share a common interest (the thing we’re looking at together). At HFR that was our God, our campers and our majestic canyon.
I suppose that’s the way it’ll be in retirement, too. If you want more friends just notice where your gaze rests (your passion); then see who’s standing next to you.