Sand in an hourglass: Childhood chums rekindle friendship after 43 years

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Every day seems to go faster than the one before, and if a person is not careful, a few years can turn into decades.

For three childhood friends from Kannapolis, a reunion in Salisbury last week was the first time since 1979 they had all been together. They are determined not to miss out on any more time.

Tim Bost, Rick Tucker and Phil Collins grew up together in Kannapolis. They attended North Kannapolis Baptist Church and forged a tight friendship in a traveling choir.

“We went everywhere from Canada to Florida to the Midwest,” Tucker said.

The last time all three men were together was for Collins’ wedding in November 1979. On Thursday, they joined each other at the Smoke Pit for a long overdue feast, where they reminisced about those cross-country road trips, from flat tires to short-lived romances.

“The three of us were really tight, but we all got married and went our own ways,” Bost said. “I ended up working on a couple of associate degrees and then a bachelor’s degree at Pfieffer University before getting a master’s degree in public administration at UNC-Greensboro. I finished that course, married, had two children and then went to work for the Salisbury Police Department and Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.”

Bost was the only one that remained in Rowan County, as the other two moved off to different areas.

Tucker attended Gardner-Webb, where he was Collins’ roommate for a couple of years. He eventually went into the seminary and was an associate minister for years.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business, he worked for CitiBank for some time and as a project manager for AETNA Insurance. In recent years, health complications made work unfeasible for him, and he stopped altogether in 2017.

Collins worked in advertising for several years but earned a master’s degree in secondary education and started teaching in 1994. He did take some time off work when his wife got sick.

While the time apart has been filled with full-time jobs, family matters and personal triumphs, a change in mindset came with age.

“As you get older, you get more sentimental,” Bost said. “It’s just natural. I’d actually pulled out a couple of photo albums, and I have a ton of photo albums, but I had not come across this one in maybe 10 years. I saw these guys in there, and I thought ‘I would do anything to see them, but I don’t even know where they are.'”

Although he had not seen Collins in years, Bost still knew how to get in touch with him.

“For years after we had last seen each other, Phil and I would send each other a Christmas card back and forth,” Bost said. “We had a thing where we would include a silver dollar in the card and send it with the card, so we exchanged that coin every year. For whatever reason, we stopped sending the cards. When I got in touch with Phil, he said that he had found the coin, so I am expecting it in my Christmas card this year.”

Tucker laments how they grew apart and what it cost them personally.

“We really missed out on our friendship,” Tucker said. “We were good friends, and we shared a lot of experiences together. Of course, we were young, but as we lived our lives, I missed that friendship.”

Collins indicated that reconnecting with his old friends was special, even if it did take longer than it should have.

“It took us too long to get reacquainted, but I am glad we did,” Collins said. He added that he intends not to let another 43 years go by without seeing his old friends.