Almost the best thing about Christmas is getting news from long lost friends. Hearing how other people are coping whilst growing steadily older is always interesting if not a tonic!
But occasionally with all the news of holidays, the progress of children etc some riveting item about people I've known for a very long time ago comes my way!
One of my old colleagues startled me this morning in her Christmas card with the news that another old friend was now the Mayor of Rochdale. Surrinder was quite a close friend. He taught woodwork in the classroom next to mine and we got on. We threw some great parties in those days, it was back in the seventies, and we were all great friends.
I lost touch with almost all of them during the years when I moved house several times... But my time teaching immigrants how to speak English was very special...in many different ways. The previous mayor of Rochdale was someone I'd taught....
Surrinder, tall dark and handsome with a beautiful English wife is a Seihk who arrived in this country from Uganda. We had some interesting conversations over the lathes about the nature of religion...it was during my hippie years and he was fascinated by the fact that I meditated regularly.
Rochdale is now predominately Muslim so it came as a great surprise and joy to find my old friend presiding over the town of my birth!
I have sent him a Christmas Card which will make him laugh...in the old days he was an extremely tolerant man, not in any way a warrior Seihk. I pray he still is and that the laughter that will engulf him when he reads that I am now a vicar will amuse him and travel well between us after all these years...... God Willing.