When I was a lad of twelve, I met another kid -- also named "Steve" -- who was also interested in scuba diving. We became best buds. Used to draw little stick figure cartoons of divers having various underwater adventures and pass them back and forth, and made plans for our various diving trips -- actually did a couple, though in water so murky you couldn't see your hand if you stretched your arm all the way out in front of your mask.
Louisiana waterways are not known for their crystal clarity. Mostly for snapping turtles, gar, water moccasins, and alligators, all hidden in the primordial ooze ...
Steve's dad changed jobs. He and his family moved to San Antonio, Texas, just after we turned thirteen.
Well, we were friends and I decided I wanted to go and visit him. So we set it up. I took a Greyhound bus from Baton Rouge to San Antonio that summer. It was, as I recall, about six hundred miles. I met some fun folks on the bus, some of whom were traveling all the way from Miami to L.A. and the trip, which was an overnighter, is one of my fond memories.
Fifty years ago. Considerably different times. I would no sooner put my thirteen-year-old grandson on an interstate bus trip by himself than I would try to fly by leaping off a tall building and flapping my arms. (When I was but five, my mother would stick me on an airplane to go and visit my grandmother. A short flight, but nobody thought anything of it, certainly not me. I'd read a couple comic books, and there I was. Took longer for take-off and landing than the flight itself.)
Steve and I drifted apart, went our separate ways, got married, had kids, grandkids, all like that. Eventually, he became a chemistry teacher, then a school principal. I used to wonder how he was getting on from time-to-time. Once, I dug up an address and sent him a letter, and he wrote back, but he was in the middle of moving to a new city, and we didn't re-connect.
Then came Facebook.
The wonder of Facebook is that half the planet checks in there. So recently, I went to see if I could find my old pal.
Yep. There he was.
We exchanged a couple of messages. We don't have a lot in common these days -- my diving career went away when I blew out an eardrum -- but it's nice to know he's still alive.
Ain't it great living here in the future?