It was a crisp sunny evening when I arrived at our digs for the weekend. Atlanta wasn’t much colder than Charleston, but I could already tell this was gonna be one of those times when it gets a tad bit nippier. When I got in I was greeted by my flip, Edmund, who was desperately trying to get warm. I asked if he heard about the magic of ovens. The brethren began filling the house faster than the heat of the furnace, but hearts were equally temperately ecstatic.

Rob hugging Dhane

Once assembled we all grew increasingly excited for the time at hand. Drinks and shit talk were bound to happen. Along with a song and a story. But first, we had to eat. All of a sudden too good for chicken and beer, the bruhs feasted on fine meats, artisan breads and wine from Chateau Pu Blé. Or, to put it simply, hoagies from Publix. Nonetheless, we feasted and headed back to our lair, where brother Wolf D of the sea shared a special brew from a micro distillery. Wolf’s Moon Milk Punch was a stimulating surprise to the tongue. What was surprisingly absent was the presence of milk. Turns out its one of those things in a name that shouldn’t be there, like the ‘k’ in knife. Instead it’s more of a subtle citrus punch with the finishing of a cognac. We each were gifted with a bottle.

Brothers toasting

We met on the campus of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. It was there that we were initiated into the fall 2001 pledge class of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.’s Upsilon Psi Chapter. Our line, named “The Quintessential 17,” has forever remained the truest to nature, purpose and power of black brotherhood and unity. Sharing joys, and accomplishments as well as occasional pains and challenges was something we have been doing for almost two decades. And this time was no different. The plan was for us to come down for the baby shower of our beloved line brother James. Instead we welcomed the first days of his life with his new daughter. Apparently, she wanted to be a part of the party as well. The weekend left as quickly as it came. The blessing of our friendship is something we all cherish. In world where we black men often don’t get to share positive lasting bonds with other black men we were reminded of how even more precious this weekend was. Although the entire 17 couldn’t make it, there was a surprise appearance by our Dean, and he’s always an interesting character.

Sunday came too soon. We lingered as we do when we don’t want to leave but eventually the time came for each of us, some had flights to catch, others had states to traverse in electric cars. One by one we made it, each giving confirmation. As we grow up and move through life it becomes harder and harder to remain close. Time is divided between children, significant others, and careers. We appreciated every moment and looked forward to the next meeting. The most significant lesson learned was that we don’t need extravagant trips to far off lands to truly appreciate one another. Although we know it would be awesome to explore South America together but adventures in exotic locales can sometimes get in the way of what really matters, connecting. I’m glad our connection has withstood the test of time, and I can’t wait until we are all together again.