A side effect of growing old is losing friends. The youngsters out there will think that I’m stating the bleeding obvious in that as your hair turns grey your network of friendships is thinned by death.

That’s not what I mean… I’m referring to that slow drift away from people you thought would always be close to you as your interests diversify and the complexities of your life escalate beyond simply staying in touch. It’s tempting to think that Facebook and its networking cousins will halt the drop off of childhood friends into the memory bank, but truthfully I suspect that they will suspend all relationships conducted through cyberspace on a very shallow and quickly forgettable plain. Time will tell…

My experience is that as I cheerfully head through my thirties and meet some of the most wonderful and interesting people, in this the most intimate of places, I add names to a colorful list of acquaintances. And then I met Jeremiah Hambana. I’ve written before about Jerry’s specialness as a person and I frequently introduce him to guests as the nicest person on the planet. Spending as much time as I do with Jerry is a privilege and I’ve subconsciously added him to my shrinking list of close friends.

Jerry about to head out tracking with Tom

Jerry about to head out tracking with Tom

We had a difficult drive a few days ago. It felt like we kept turning left when we should have turned right and the leopard we were tracking eventually eluded us. I got grumpy – it happens sometimes – and on the way back to the lodge I might have said something to the effect of: “well at least we are still friends.” Jerry with his deadpan and inscrutably honest expression turned to tell me that he did not consider me as a friend. It was a long drive home and in the awkwardness of camp I took him to task, explaining that I had long considered him a friend and what that meant. Jerry’s response was simply that we couldn’t be friends while I was grumpy… “for crying out loud Jerry, you can’t be that wishy washy about friendship surely?”

Jerry Hambana

Jerry Hambana - Londolozi Tracker

Of course he can! Jerry places value in friendships being consistent and always behaving within those ideals. A western view might be more that a friendship holds through thick and thin and can tolerate some sort of poor performance from either side. Jerry’s position is unwaveringly simple: in his view so long as I’m grumpy, we aren’t and can’t be friends.

Jerry sitting in his Office
Jerry sitting in his Office

Well that has got me behaving myself in his company, because his friendship is something I cherish, and like most things in life that are of value, friendships require a decent amount of effort to acquire and retain. Beyond that I’ll use this life lesson from Jerry to enhance those special friendships I have, and apply them to new ones along the way.

Filed under Life

About the Author

Tom Imrie

Field Guide

Tom is the voice of wisdom, reason and logic on the Londolozi Ranging Team, as well as all the other facets that go hand-in-hand with being an intellectual far beyond the realm of most mere mortals. There are very few subjects under the ...

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on My Friend Jerry

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cool man.

Doreen Dziepak

It has been said we show others how to treat us . . . Jerry has it “right on” by clearly defining what is acceptable, or not. Thinking I will take a page from Jerry’s book . . . not time nor energy for anyone (or anything) that is not positive, uplifting, or peaceful. Thank you for this post . . .

Gerrit van Wageningen

Dear Tom &Jerry,
Many thanks for the lovely inspiration!
We’ve had T&J as our veld-team for many wonderful visits to Londo’s Heaven, and we can only confirm that we’ve learnt not only numerous amazing things about nature, but also many deeper aspects about life, mutual respect, dedication and integrity!
Every game drive with the “A-team” was always a privilege, an amazing experience and lots of good old-fashioned FUN!
We salute you!
Warm regards,
Gerrit, Marietjie, Gerrit, Esme, Pine and also Pine&Esme senior!

Henriëtte and Paul

Dear Jerry and Tom,
We had also a very nice inspiration with you two. We come to Varty again the eight of november.
Is it possible to go again with you two ? Please organise that for us !
Lovely greetings to you and to the three wifes from Jerry and his eleven lovely kids.
We met them all it was great for us !
Lovely regards,
Henriëtte and Paul

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