Relationships of Gold
Karen and Jay share thoughts on the unique and special value of ‘Old Friends'.
It happens in an instant. When you reconnect with an old friend, all of a sudden, you’re transported back to an earlier time. Whether you last saw your old friend ten, twenty or even thirty years ago, you find yourself just picking up like it was only yesterday. It’s like time has stood still. These are precious relationships. And if you are fortunate to have even a handful of such relationships, then you truly understand the meaning of the saying that ‘old friends are like gold.’
The truth is, we’ll meet a lot of people over the course of a lifetime. With some we’ll have brief encounters, others perhaps a little longer, maybe some will become acquaintances, and even fewer of those we’d consider a friend. And then there are those friends with whom we share a deep bond of ‘friendship’ - through the good and the bad – and these are the relationships that are so deeply meaningful. These friendships tend to endure changing circumstances like new jobs, long-term absences, and changed or differing interests. At times it may seem odd that as we change or evolve, how is it that some of our oldest friends are the ones that make us more comfortable? Why do we tend to place more value on those who have been in our lives the longest?
Our oldest friends are often a good barometer of ourselves. They’ve known us the longest and have seen us evolve from our younger, perhaps more aspirational selves from the past into the adults we are in the present. This can be especially important if we’re going through a difficult time, helping us feel grounded again, reminding us of our potential, while also offering some honest advice we might not hear from someone we haven’t known as long. Our oldest friends offer us a safe space to be ourselves, without judgement. In short, they remind us of who we are.
I was reminded of this in a conversation I recently had with a friend going through some difficult family challenges. It’d been a few years since we’d last connected, but we picked up right where we left off, catching up, sharing stories, providing advice, and offering some perspective. After our chat, I walked away feeling more upbeat and genuinely grateful not only for the memories my friend and I have shared over the years, but for how those shared memories allowed us to share yet another important moment together. Not only that, but a few days later my friend called me to tell me just how important us reconnecting was and that it helped him change his entire perspective on the difficulties he was facing on the home front. “I was forgetting ‘who I know I am meant to be,’ and our conversation helped remind me of that” he told me.
We often talk about the importance of the little things in the Sunshine Report. Whether it be a plate of pancakes or a conversation with an old friend, these little things not only make life worthwhile, but they give us both perspective and guidance. They help us make decisions big and small that can lead to positive outcomes in our lives when we choose to be grateful for them. So if it’s been a while since you’ve connected with an old friend but it’s been on your mind, give‘em a call or set up some time to get together, it could make all the difference for you both!
Football and Friendships
One of the greatest ‘friend building’ experiences of my life was playing high school football with my teammates – the Newport Football Tigers. We developed bonds that have lasted a lifetime. Now, with the football season almost here and as a die-hard Patriots fan I can't wait for our guys from Foxborough to take to the gridiron. However, I'm even more excited for college, high school and Pop Warner football. I'm excited not just as a former player myself, but excited for the empathy, support, and the exemplary friendship and teamwork these players show on and off the field. In addition, I look at these players and think about their futures, the impact they will make on society, and the friendships and stories they will have for years to come.
As someone who relied on his teammates when I played football, I know how vitally I needed their support to achieve our team’s goals. Fast forward to today, I think about the friends I have in Newport who are now helping us grow the mission of the Newport Sunshine Initiative. Just like the days on the field, my friends and teammates on the Initiative, like Selectman Jeff Kessler and Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg, and so many others have pulled together as a unified team – and are pushing so many of our efforts across the goal line.
As I look across the Granite State, there are so many folks I know who have also had this ‘football and friends’ experience. I look at people such as New Hampshire Executive Councilor and former Mayor of Manchester Ted Gatsas. He played for the Wildcats at UNH and the Little Green of Central High School. Then I look at former player Nick Vailas, now of BASC, who has supported programs Gatsas fought hard for as the chief executive of the state’s largest city. They have a commitment to make a difference along with the determination to win because what they learned on the field is practiced today in the real world, having a truly positive impact on our community and especially for those who reside in them. These two individuals are just a few of the many football greats who continue to go deep, lay it out on the field, and fight for every yard that will get them closer to the goal of making a real difference in our world!
One of my favorite people in the 603 is Andrew Provencher of Bedford. Both he and his wife are passionate young entrepreneurs committed to giving back. Andrew played football from a young age right up till his days in high school. The fundamentals he learned are applied every day in how he runs his businesses, how they raise their two young daughters, and how he gives back to the community. In fact, Andrew and teammates recently came together to bring new life into the youth football program they played in some years back. These once former players traded in the cleats for clipboards and became coaches. They did it not only for the love of the game but more so for the chance to provide lessons and life skills instilled in the future leaders of tomorrow. They saw the need and they took action. Their friendship that started on the line of scrimmage has resulted in standing shoulder to shoulder determined to do good.
When people ask me what’s so great about football, I simply respond with “It's that special time in our lives when we learn the value of hard work and team effort resulting in long-lasting friendships and positive outcomes for years to come.” I commend my fellow football players for what you did on the field, what you’re doing today, and the inspirational things you will continue to do in the future!
Lang and Pearl – Friends in the House
Tim Lang of Sanbornton and Howard Pearl of Loudon might be the best example of ‘friendship with a cause’ in the New Hampshire legislature. The two are inseparable in the House but have not closed off their friendship to others. As founding members of the “Beer Caucus”, Lang and Pearl were instrumental in building comradery across party lines and giving legislators a much-needed occasion to socialize outside of the fractious nature of the State House. This led to the introduction of the annual House softball game where Republicans and Democrats raise money for a charity of their choosing and compete in a friendly game every year. It often seems that this is one of the few times when the two sides can come together and show that deep down, they both want what is best for New Hampshire.
However, Howard and Tim have both outgrown the House it seems, and it appears to be a happy coincidence they were both able to run for open State Senate seats this year. Making the jump from State Representative to State Senator is no small feat. They are going from a constituency of around 3400 people to that of 60,000 and a body of 400 to that of only 24. But as luck would have it, these two friends may be able to continue their goodwill missions in Concord should the voters give them both a promotion this fall!
Positive Profile of the Week - Barry Hunter
This week we are delighted to highlight a wonderful friend and a highly accomplished professional in the field of law enforcement here in New Hampshire – Barry Hunter.
We in Newport are especially grateful to Barry because he recently volunteered to help us out on an important matter. He volunteered to come out of retirement and fill a critical gap. He agreed to serve as Newport’s Interim Police Chief. We are hugely appreciative of his generous offer to serve. We are also truly blessed to have Barry as our new Chief – given his extraordinary knowledge and experience.
A few weeks ago, I happened to be in town and ‘accidentally’ sat in on his swearing-in while I was at the Newport town office. It was a pleasure to be there and to revisit the new Chief’s career as a law enforcement officer. So much so, thought you might like to know a bit about what Barry has accomplished.
Barry has served in law enforcement for more than 40 years. Starting as a trooper for the State Police, Hunter served in various locations around the State, especially in Sullivan County and the western part of the state. Rising to the rank of Executive Major, Barry served as the number two officer in the entire state. Importantly, Barry also developed a deep expertise in the war against drugs, working with the Attorney General’s office as a Drug Task Force officer.
While Barry’s time as Chief is only temporary in Newport, we are deeply grateful to have the value of his guidance and experience. He will be an exemplary role model to our younger officers and will undoubtedly have a significant and positive impact on our police force. Thank you, thank you, thank you – Barry Hunter!
Quotes of the Week: Old Friends
“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“Beautiful memories are like old friends. They may not always be on your mind, but they are forever in your heart.”
“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“To reminisce with my old friends, a chance to share some memories, and play our songs again.”
“Of oil, wine, and friends, the oldest is the best.”