OLD FRIENDS Sometimes, on quiet days, we pause to look around us, at who is beside us now, at who has been beside us in our times of ago. A lot of people touch and shape our lives. Some of them enter, then leave. Memorable ones return. Last night, Julie and I had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, with one of our favorite people. I've known him since the 9th grade. Sixty one years ago, forty six of us graduated from high school together. Some of us had known each other only a year or two. Some of us had begun the journey together in kindergarten, in September of 1943. Not all of those are still among us. Only a few. Tuesday, my dinner companion from last night and I will join another of our graduating class for lunch. This one I've known for 74 years, since kindergarten. All three of us are nearly 80 now. We'll reminisce about other classmates, a couple of teachers, and maybe about a couple of gals who shared some time and space with us. One of us will spill some coffee, another will lose his napkin. On parting we'll all comment on how good it is to see each other again. And maybe speak of a next time. But, for my old kindergarten partner, the next times will be scarce. He's hoping to live to his 80th birthday that is only 5 days after mine in late December. There aren't many marbles left in the jar.