A friend of mine is about to celebrate her 24th birthday.
I was 24 once -- in 1981.
That was a generation ago -- 30 years.
Reminds me of a conversation Mom had with Dad when his memory had started getting groggy.
Mom asked Dad how old he was going to be on his birthday.
Dad said he was going to be 73 years old.
"No," Mom said, "Try again." (The correct answer was 74 years old).
Dad said he was going to be 72 years old.
"No," Mom said, "you're going in the wrong direction."
"I am?" Dad asked. "I must be getting old."
"What do you mean you're getting old?" Mom asked. "You are old!"
By the way, when we were at a Wendy's restaurant once, Mom asked me to go up to a little old lady with snow-white hair using a walker and ask her how old she was.
So, I approached the woman and complemented her on how she was managing the walker and she told me she was 83 years old.
When I returned with this information, Mom said, "That's too old!"
"Mom," I asked, "what's the alternative?"
OK, what was I saying?
Oh, yeah, a generation ago.
I was checking my notebook about upcoming anniversaries and saw that next year will mark 35 years since I graduated Copiah-Lincoln Junior (now Community) College in Wesson, Mississippi.
That seems improbable but not impossible.
Improbable because in my mind's eye, the image of most of my friends from those days remain pretty much frozen in time, like a snapshot that documents the past, not the present.
But it's not impossible because I know, from having kept up with a few of my friends across the years, that the river of time has indeed flowed.
The hair on the heads of my male friends has gradually turned gray or white or begun to disappear. I have happened to notice a few white hairs on my head of late.
My wife complains that all the silver hairs she finds on her clothing are ones shed from me.
As for my female friends from college years, at least one I visited last in the 1990s told me outright at that time she hadn't "frosted" her hair as I thought but allowed it to turn silver gradually on its own.
Another female friend, whose black hair even in the mid-70s was prematurely shot through with silver, had become a brunette, courtesy of Miss Clairol, when last I visited her a decade ago.
Time seems to have stood still for at least two other female friends.
From photos I've seen, a friend who was a redhead is now what could be described as a strawberry blonde.
But you could have knocked me over with a feather when I met a male college friend whom I'd not set eyes on for 15 years.
I didn't recognize him at first, not because his facial features had altered, but because his formerly jet black hair had turned solid gray, almost white. I suppose I thought he'd look as I'd last seen him.
I wonder if he felt the same shock at my appearance?
George Orwell once said that after age 50 every man has the face he deserves. Thanks, George.
Where's Dorian Gray's portrait painter when you need him? Likely under contract to Miss Clairol.
At any rate, I wish my friend Julie a happy 24th birthday and many, many more, and while it's true that time flies -- tempus fugit -- make memories that will stand you in good stead for now and for ever.
And take plenty of pictures -- you never know years from now when you'll need evidence for blackmail.
See you 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, at Tamp & Grind Coffee Shop on 4th Street, Alexandria, Louisiana, for "cake and coffee" and "fun times with fun people" at Julie's Birthday Bash!