/ Oh, for One More Chance?
I recieved a phone call yesteady morning, to tell me an old climbing friend had lost his battle to illness. Embarrassingly, I wasn't even aware he'd been ill.
Although we enjoyed some great climbing together in the mid to late 70''s, we'd slowly drifted our separate ways, and as time and life steered us in different directions, lost touch.
Then, about ten years ago, I bumped into him out of the blue at Kings Cross station.
We shared a coffee while waiting for our respective trains, and had the quick, inevitable trip down memory lane.
Then, as quickly as we'd bumped into each other, we went our separate ways, but vowing to keep in touch.
Of course we didn't.
The good intentions never turned into actions, and simply blew away like a discarded paper wrapper in the wind.
So many great days on the crag, so much beer drunk, so much laughter and affection, simply forgotten. Consigned to the skip of memories.
Troach, Central Pillar on Esk, Nazgul, Darius, Bullroar, T Rex and Eroica, just a small handful amongst a sack full of great routes shared.
Now, when it's too late, I remember them.
And I remember the eyes. Warm and kind, and which screwed up at the sides when he smiled, which was most of the time.
He loved Fairport Convention, and would often break out into an impromptu rendition, even though he was tone deaf and sounded like a donkey with collic, and it was usually a track called 'One More Chance' from Rising For The Moon, and often when he was pondering a hard move.
My life has many regrets, but right now, I regret not putting the effort in to keep in touch with him. I regret not picking up the phone. I regret not keeping those memories closer to me.
Most of all, I regret not having One More Chance to share a beer, see his smiling face, and even listen to his awful singing.
It's so easy to lose touch. So easy to be swept along, cocooned in our bubble of self.
Yet it's just as easy to stay in touch if the will, and desire is there too.
As climbers, we share not just adventures and memories, but also experiences and friendships which indelibly shape us. They become part of who we become.
So if you've an old climbing friend you've lost touch with, pick up the phone and contact them. Grab a day out on the crag, or just grab a beer together.
Because once they're gone, it's too late.
Beautiful sentiment and writing, which is a common theme with your posts.
I'm sorry to hear the bad news.
Well said sir. However I would take it a step further, and keep in touch with all friends whatever the reason you met and became friends in the first place.
There's an excellent book in you Goucho, memoir, anthology, stream of consciousness or all 3, I'd devour it.
Brilliant and moving post, and some good advice.
> And I remember the eyes. Warm and kind, and which screwed up at the sides when he smiled, which was most of the time.
Am so sorry.
> So if you've an old climbing friend you've lost touch with, pick up the phone and contact them. Grab a day out on the crag, or just grab a beer together.
Great post, Goucho, and I think the advice above is very good
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