Andy is the guy in the back row of the group photo, between the doors, wearing glasses. I'm fifth from the left in the second row. We were fifth grade classmates in 1954, in Danville, Vermont.
Andy and I were great boyhood pals, fishing for brook trout mornings before school, romping the fields and forests exploring and searching for rabbits to shoot with our BB guns. We made cider one time at his father's farm with an old fashioned press that you screwed down to squish the juice out of the apples by turning a big ring that looked like the steering wheel on a greyhound bus.
Andy is the only boy I ever knew who actually got shot in the eye with a BB, thanks to Roy Vance, a fellow classmate. He missed a couple weeks of school and had to wear a patch over his eye for awhile over that mishap.
Andy still lives in Vermont, but now spends a few winter months in southern Virginia. He and I have seen each other only once in the last 59 years since my family (dragging me screaming and protesting) moved away from Vermont.
Recently we realized my visit with an old high school buddy from Ohio, now living in Raleigh, North Carolina, would put me about an hour away from Andy's winter hideout.
Immediately, we picked out a meeting spot, established a day and time, and agreed to meet at Sunrise Biscuits for a late breakfast.
We both arrived there, a minute apart, 15 minutes earlier than our appointment, and embarked on a most marvelous reunion during the next couple hours. It's exquisite to have Andy as a friend, and mighty precious to spend a little time together.
And, it's most surprising that we look now, just as we did almost 60 years ago.