Sometimes you just know when you meet someone that you are confident that that particular someone is going to be a friend for life. I am blessed with having a number of these friends, Sir naturally included in this illustrious list.

We were visited by two such friends last weekend. I met Sparky and Ellen and their three glorious children on or about June 25, 1978. I remember the date well, as it was the time in Sydney when those of us living in a gorgeous terrace house in Paddington in Sydney, would host “Silly Christmas,” my three housemates being English and therefore bemoaning of the fact that Christmas in December is frankly too hot. (A hint for those readers who haven’t quite caught up with me – our seasons are reversed.) The rule was that guests could only hail from the northern hemisphere, and Sparky and Ellen, being from Cleveland, fit the criterion beautifully.

Sparky, Ellen and the kids walked into our house to be greeted by a wreath on the front door, a fully decorated Christmas tree in the living room, and the dining table laden with linen and silver and outrageously rich food, and I knew I was going to adore them till my dying day and beyond.

Since then, I’ve leapt across the globe to visit them – New York, Paris, and, well, Cleveland. And just as they realized that Australia is where they wanted to live, I met Sir, and promptly moved up here. Ain’t fate unkind?

Thankfully they travel to the States often, and we were able to catch up again.

Way back then, we – being me and my ex – would spend lost weekends with them, over indulging, over imbibing, over swimming, over card playing and just generally being over the top.

Now Sir gets to enjoy the treat that is the Sparky and Ellen Duo. Nothing really has changed – loads of wine, loads of laughter, and that glorious phenomenon where you just naturally pick up where you left off last time.

I guess there are a couple of differences these 36 years later. Shall we say, the old grey mare she ain’t what she used to be? Rather than sit around the dinner table debating deep and meaningful subjects, we now sit around and compare arthritic joints, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, back pain and insomnia.

The marathon pinochle and Kismet games which would start at 5 p.m. on Friday and would end around 8 p.m. on Sunday, with a couple of hours off for sleep, are now limited to three hours at a stretch. The wine bottle recycling to rival anything in the Guinness Book of Records, now sadly barely fills the wheely bin. Bed time no longer happens around 6 a.m.

I guess we’ve all grown up – thankfully together. We were just missing our other great mates, Kezza and Rog who generously donated to the wine collection in absentia, but managed to catch Kezza on the phone.

Ah, old times – but goodies. I will now just go wring my liver out, and may well recover around Thanksgiving.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at .