my old friend, big plans and aspirations for the future...

A local friend called me last night for an urgent meeting. He's an old fellow, 85 years to be exact and due to his ill-health we hadn't been in contact for a while. He is a pillar of local community events, as coarse as nails, as tough as old boots, and the ex-local policeman. 
When I arrived at his place he was walking towards me with a walking stick and shinning a torch. He announced 'lets go somewhere warm for a drink'. Climbing in my car he directed to the village pub. Most of the folks there seemed to know me, so I sat surrounded by punters with pints, in my dhoti and tilak sipping on a cup of lemon and ginger tea.
I asked what was wrong with his health. He replied bluntly, 'cancer'. 'What you doing about that' I enquired, to which he replied 'the best thing--nothing. Just forget about it, that's best'.
His movements were slower than before, a little slur in his voice, and it was obvious that everything for him just required that bit more effort. He discussed his next big plans and my part in them all. We have done so many things together in the past, now he was rolling out plans that sounded to me rather beyond the both of us. Still I humoured him and gave my all. The thought that he might not see even the beginning of some of them haunted the back of my mind.
I dropped him home and he wandered off torch in hand in to the dark pathway leading to his door. My friend is something of a past era, a British fellow, the type who in the eighties opposed our temple--and he did. Today so much has changed, hardly one of us know what makes us in anyway British, perhaps that's a good thing. But still with him goes a generation, who felt and lived community, they had shared values, a common language and even faith.
As I went to bed, thoughts of him were still vivid in my mind. My old friend Brian. I love the guy and I feel such pride and privilege being called out to one of his 'emergency meetings'. Perhaps we won't see his plans through, but for sure I hope to be like him in my old age, sitting with all the devotees, dreaming great dreams and passionately discussing our plans for the future.

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