Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Aging of ATF

Circa 1996
Pete and his college friends had another one of their "ATF" trips this past weekend.  By my calculations, I think this may have been about their 30th time to get together since graduation!  Aside from that milestone, most of them have been turning 40 this year, so they had a lot to celebrate this time.

When they were all young bucks, ATF meant a time to drink Alcohol (in a mostly responsible way), smoke pipes (Tobacco), and shoot off some guns (Firearms) in the woods.

Gradually, as they became family men and got jobs they needed to keep, they started having tamer weekends, switching the "F" portion to "football," for instance.

Circa 2000
But, still, they were tough, manly-type weekends.

Then several of them started ascribing to special eating patterns.... less gluten, locally-sourced produce, ethically-raised meat, more fiber, less sugar, etc.  Their group meals have adapted.

And now several of them (including my dear, still manly, husband) now have trouble sleeping in random places.  No longer do they proclaim, "Have Thermarest, Will Sleep Anywhere."  Bedtimes have gotten much earlier for this crowd.
Circa 2001

So that brings us to this past trip.  The guys got together for 4 days, but as far as I can tell not a single pipe was smoked, nor were any guns shot. There were cigars, and there was still alcohol.... including some expensive Scotch, I hear.

The big highlight was a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate their 40th birthday.  (Grilling random animals and washing them down with random rare beers is no longer sufficient, apparently!) According to one report, one of the guys had his eyes closed at the table and was ready for bed before they had even gotten their check!  Another one was moaning about a pulled back muscle from their relatively tame game of frisbee that afternoon.

When the guys got home, 2 of them were in our driveway (having ridden together), and the kids and I eagerly asked them what they had done for amusement while they were gone.  "Well, we went shopping," said one of them.  SHOPPING?????   "Charlottesville is a nice town," they tried to explain.  I was still appalled.

We also learned that they spent time talking about their feelings (apparently the new "F"), and enjoyed a nice breakfast of yogurt and granola.

ARE THESE EVEN THE SAME GUYS WE WENT TO COLLEGE WITH???  Those crazy, stay-out-all-night, rugged, flannel-wearing*, loud-guffawing, challenge-everything guys?

2013:  40th birthday dinner

Now, they've lost a lot of hair and seemingly a need to prove anything.  On the positive side, they've gained a lot of wisdom (such smart guys -- eating yogurt for breakfast!), and have cultivated deep, lasting friendships with each other, which I greatly admire.  They share extensively with one another, pray together, challenge and encourage each other.

So I continue to be thankful for these ATF weekends:  Alcohol, Trout and Frisbee or All Talking about Feelings, or whatever they are!

*Except Marc, who always dressed nicely and never challenged authority.  :)