WE’RE almost at that time of year when Christmas card lists remind us of all the people we once knew well but now rarely, if ever, see.
Over the years the number of old pals on our list has becoming increasingly pared down. I think I send cards to only two of my ex-college buddies and the Man-in-Charge sends out no cards at all to his (that’s my job).
Every now and again I stage a card-writing rebellion. "How long are we going keep this up?’’ I say as I write out the envelopes to his old university friends in far-flung places. "We’re probably never going to see them again.’’
I’ll never win any prizes for prophecy or divination because last weekend he did get to see most of them again – at a 20th anniversary university reunion in Glasgow.
The event had been organised by his former flatmate, now a professor and dean of the veterinary faculty in which they were once students, a celebrity no less.
My brother was there because he was also a 1987 vintage vet and so were all the vets and their spouses that I’d met at the rash of weddings following graduation all those years ago.
Twenty years is a long time – almost a generation – and we now have between us a considerable number of children, one of whom is already at university and another (ours) in his last year at school.
The MIC says that apart from a few balding heads, crow’s feet and widening waistbands (among the men) the reunited ones looked much as they had.
In fact, most of the women looked exactly as they had, a remarkable feat given that the veterinary life is both challenging and demanding.
And they all seemed to take up where they left off 20 years ago, which is always a sign that such friendships were genuine and strong. Their capacity for verbal sparring and practical jokes remains undiminished.
There had been some casualties along the way; the sort of tragedies that life hands out unfairly and randomly. But, perhaps surprisingly, most marriages have survived the rigours of veterinary medicine and the demands of multiple child-rearing and, as yet, there have been no losses.
We went to a ceilidh on Saturday night, at which there were tables full of vets and their partners celebrating 30th, 40th and even 50th anniversary reunions.
It’s an awesome thought that one day we might be sitting on these old-timers’ tables. But the future is, as they say, an undiscovered country and for now we must count ourselves fortunate indeed to have made it thus far relatively unscathed.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that we departed from Glasgow promising to keep in touch and get together more often; a 25-year reunion has been promised.
It remains to be seen whether the bonhomie honed over a weekend of drinking, eating and ceilidh dancing will actually lead to visits up and down the country.
But one thing’s for sure; we’ve had to reinstate quite a few old friends on to our Christmas card list. And I’m starting to think that perhaps it’s time I organised a journalism college reunion.
- Glasgow, like most UK cities these days, has become a smart, happening place to be. While the vets were checking out the new-look vet school, the Wags went shopping in the Prince’s Square Centre, taking in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum for a bit of culture.
This fine establishment, which recently underwent a multi-million-pound facelift and boasts Dali’s amazing Crucifixion, is worth a visit to the city all by itself.
It’s clearly a point of pride for the city’s inhabitants; every single taxi driver mentioned it at length. But I should point out that Glasgow taxi drivers are particularly chatty.