They were smart, and they knew it. They played (and play) Magic: The Gathering and Axis and Allies and Risk and Battleship and Warhammer, from fourth grade all through high school and college ...different schools but still friends.
And they read. Not just the sports pages (this was in 1992, denizens, when newspapers not the interwebs brought information to your door), but the front page and the editorials. They read everything the teachers assigned, and they read more. They read non-fiction and fantasy and the Codex for every video game known to man.
Of course, if The Twins were in the car, they were as likely to be blowing the paper off Mel's Diner's straws at people in the car-with-the-windows-down as we waited for the light to change on Lombard Street. They were little boys, even if their brains were racing ahead to adulthood far faster than those of their peers.
Their younger sisters were the same age. Their mothers hiked together. Their lives would have overlapped, but instead they became entwined. They were pilot and navigator at Aviation Challenge, summer after summer. They won the Top Gun Award when the program ran at the re-purposed Merced AFB; their names were first on the plaque in the Hall of Fame. They were proud, and rightly so.
They had mothers who knew where they were every minute of every day. Don't underestimate the importance of that fact. The kids who roamed freely were a different crowd, entirely. My son's good friends didn't mind checking in with their parents, because they loved their parents and knew that their parents worried about them. They were lucky to have that kind of care and concern and the freedom that came along with it, and they knew it. The earned responsibilities, and they embraced them. We did our fair share of hollering and demanding and insisting and nagging, but we were working with pretty good raw material.
(An aside: if that fantasy paragraph prompts personal revelations to destined to distort the rosey scenario I created, please keep them to yourselves.)
They weren't perfect, but it was pretty hard to complain about them.
Not that we didn't.
They went back East for college and gradually made their ways back to San Francisco, where they reconnected in the what're you doing tonight? friendship of long ago. Ace met Meg, and Big Cuter was glad to introduce her to us when we came to town. She's every bit as wonderful as Ace deserves.
On Saturday, Big Cuter officiated at their wedding, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, and San Francisco Bay, and their pasts, and their futures. People told him that he did a great job, that he has a future in the marrying business. His reply says it all:
It's easy to be eloquent when you're talking about people you love.