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And Then We Weren't

We were young. We thought we were invincible. We worked, we climbed, we partied. We lived our lives as would be expected of men of a certain age. Our group ran the gamut of personalities and characters. Some were funny, some serious, there were those that everyone liked to work with while others made putting your tools on their trucks an agonizing chore.

We didn’t think of ourselves as “heroes;” we didn’t have FR clothing or drawers full of line related T-shirts; we didn’t have fall restraint belts or for that matter, buckets on every job. We were just a bunch of people doing something that we loved – linework. We laughed, we argued, we fought, we commiserated over coffee and beers. And when it was time for work, we operated as teams – sometimes like a well-oiled machine and other times like a cranky old steam engine. But we always got the job done – and safely.

Yeah, we were young then. Each of us with our own story, building individual lives – families, hobbies, personal interests, and businesses. Life evolves, as does each person. Some moved “up the ladder;” some took different jobs; others left the profession; while others stayed and finished their careers within the organization.

Time, sometimes years, passed without seeing one another. There was always the occasional get-together. The chance to catch up, reminisce, rehash stories, and renew friendships.

After a while, get-togethers were more frequent, as retirement parties became the order of the day. A little more snow on the roof – or less hair; a bit more girth around the middle; a slower, possibly a little unsteady gait but to the observer, the perspective of the past persisted.

And now, many of these gatherings, while still a chance to catch up and reminisce, usually mark a sad occasion. There are too many but, the stories, and memories evoke a strong confident group of young men, proud of what they do.

Yeah, we were young…and then we weren’t.

Terry Bellew 

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