Updated: Mar 17
MANY FRIENDS – By Charles Lamb
THE DEFINITION OF FRIENDS FROM the 1700S TO TODAY
My Bible and my literature books are my reading choices when life gets me down.
It mends my soul. Comparing and contrasting what Lamb and his fellow writers wrote about their friends of the 1700s
are similar to mine today. His views and values stay true. The word “friend” gets thrown around a lot these day.
Look at social media. The word “friend” takes on a new meaning. Deleting posts is an option. Blocking or removing them can be done with one click. That sounds cold doesn’t it. My southern roots would say yes.
On the other hand, I have had great satisfaction getting my finger to the delete button. I will say no more on this subject. I don’t want to offend anyone.
I can only imagine what Lamb, Coleridge, and Wordsworth’s comments would be about the advancement of our computer age.
My family had a dear artist friend who would join us on occasion for dinner. While gathered at the dinner table, I held on to every word of his enriching conversation.
World traveled, renown for his beautiful art, his style of paintings were in keeping with Georgia O’Keefe.
You knew the style the moment you saw his paintings, brilliant colors blended on canvas.
He was unique, adding much flavor to his conversation. His life stories were rich with travels among his elitists’ art world. He spoke softly, a fine quality to have, drawing his listeners into his rich conversation, holding on to every word.
He lived as he chose, remaining true to himself. On occasion, he invited us over for wine and cheese. He fed us with a rich pallet of words about his magnificent travels.
I admired him. I dabbled in painting but nothing surprisingly special. He was a great mentor. Occasionally, he shared simple truths about his life, in keeping with my admired English writers. Some thought him egotistical. I didn’t. I admired his brutal honesty. He had little patience for those less educated with no interest in the arts. What could be more important in life.
His rich-colored paintings demanded high prices and he got them. Afterward, he would indulge another carpe diem experience. He had friends across the globe like we had across town. Such a free spirit. He had been educated in New York City’s finest Schools of art.
He had a bad smoking habit that eventually caused his death. His ashes would be close to dropping from his cigarette when I would immediately grab an ashtray. I despised smoking.
His lifestyle worked for him. Most can only dream. A loner, he didn’t care for people that much. Most bored him with their small talk, but his paintings were a source of income, subjecting him to their company and money. He tolerated it.
He told me he could spot a phony in any crowd. What did that mean? Nothing below the hat, Hazel Lee. Superficial. How about plain old phonies.
He loved walking around houses featuring his paintings at cocktail gatherings, scouting their taste in books. If none were found, he knew the latest coffee table books would be gracing their living rooms.
Seeing silk flowers were another pet peeve. He despised them. He once commented such people should leave the junk food off their grocery list, replacing them with fresh roses.
I don’t remember visiting his quaint bungalow without seeing fresh flowers. Usually they were long-stemmed lilies in a square-shaped crystal vase, arranged perfectly.
We adored him. Was he a traditionalist? No. Will he be in Heaven? Not my decision. Was he true to himself? Yes, I believe he was. Was it in keeping with biblical truths? I can’t answer that either.
I know we loved him. I also know we prayed for him. We were there if needed. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do as Christians? Love, don’t judge? Christ said we only have to love and obey. He would take care of separating the wheat from the tares. That’s pretty simple. In fact, I don’t think Christ could have made it any simpler.
My English authors had similar characteristics. They were ingenious, stayed to themselves, arrogant with no room for small talk. Above it.
Our sweet friend, now departed, would have much in common with these gents. Sitting around the fireplace with a glass of brandy and an old book, talking much ado about nothing. I can only imagine.
Charles Lamb – “unfortunate is the lot of that man who can look round about the wide world, and exclaim with truth, I have no friend! Do you know any such lonely suffered? For mercy sake, send him to me. I can afford him plenty…….!”
I believe I am an old soul. I couldn’t imagine not having Wordsworth in the spring, reading about his 17-mile walk see a splash of yellow daffodils.
I suppose feeling the hint of spring coming excites my inner soul, while staring at the ground, hoping to see a crocus emerge.
Happy spring everyone, check out some of these old gents this spring. They didn’t have Facebook.