Sometime when we were around 40-years-old, a group of six of us couples that attended Fort Wayne Bible College decided to get together late on New Year’s Day for a snack carry-in, reminiscence of laughs on the college campus, memories involving certain professors and board games until well after midnight.

Year after year, we exchanged homes and repeated the food, reflecting and hilarity of the board games. As we got older, our children, most of them by then teenagers or in their early 20’s, joined us, bolstering the great food and evening’s robust reminiscing. Of course, one of the main reasons why they came was to hear some of our college stories, like the way us guys used to clear our throats in quiet times during convocation, our first dating experiences with our “would be” wives and unusual experiences like the night “one of us broke our toe,” trying to sneak a cat in the dorm at 3 a.m.

As time progressed, the renewed friendships became a family and we would join hands in our sorrows, supported each other during tough times, but more than that, planning other outings throughout the year, such as picnics and trips. The bonding became rock-solid, just to know that “the other” was there.

Subtle other things happened as we advanced into our 50’s and 60’s, normal things, like more wrinkles, graying hair and, in the case of the guys, disappearing hair. One of the fellows went through a period of cancer, but recovered; there were occasional broken limbs and surgeries. Our children got married and now grandchildren came on the scene.

Finally, a few years ago, we decided to move the New Year’s Day event from homes to a church fellowship hall; it was much less work for the hosts and hostesses. Other notable changes starting taking place; the food became more “diet appropriate.” Rather than talking about all of the hilarious fun in college, we sat around and compared medications and the board games began to end at 9 p.m. instead of midnight.

Eventually, there was bound to be an inevitable and this year that happened. One of our cherished friends passed from cancer, the first of our clan. She had been a noted musician in the Decatur area her entire life; her husband was a banker and their children excelled in sports and music. It became a whole new experience attending her memorial service as a family.

Recently, I talked to her husband and he is already especially looking forward to this year’s get together on Jan. 1, 2020. The journey moves on, we feel closer than ever.

By the way, please remember Lowell Martin and family in prayer as we have the first “empty seat” at our get together; Judy will be deeply missed.