It’s not so complicated

tom and hugh

Yesterday I had a visit from Hugh Dalton and his wife Linda. I have known them for almost 40 years, since they were teenagers and I was a young man just out of college. I was the music director for a group called Sing-Out Roanoke Valley for a few years, and they were part of the 30 or so kids that sang and danced as part of Sing-Out.

We’ve stayed in touch, sometimes loosely, sometimes closely ever since then. Through marriages, a divorce (mine), kids, good times and bad.

Facebook has made that easier. They live down in Virginia. In my hometown of Richmond, in fact. And I moved up here to beautiful downtown Nowhere, Vermont (my very very fond nickname for West Pawlet.). Now and then, when I have been down there, I’ve visited for a few hours. And on this, their first trip together to New England, they crossed over from Bar Harbor and through New Hampshire to come visit and to meet my bride. (We renewed our vows last May, so we consider that we renewed our newlywed license for another year.)

It was a good visit. We talked. We caught up. We went for a walk. We laughed. Did I mention we laughed? We had a good meal together, and then they went off towards Boston for the last day of their vacation.

Hugh and Linda are the kind of friends that you don’t see for a long time, but you fall into that same easiness that the original friendship held. I’m blessed with a lot of those kinds of friendships.

At dinner last night, as I looked around the table, at Hugh, at Linda, at my own wife, I thought about the journey each of us has taken over the last thirty or forty years. The ups and downs. The trauma and drama. I thought about the battles we have fought, and mostly, won. I thought about the scars each of us carry.

And yet, this night was simple. A few friends. Great conversation. Laughs.


At one point during the visit, we actually talked about simple, and how people make things hard, or difficult. “Why?” we wondered. The truth is, most things are simple, even when the people involved are not.

I don’t have the answers. I have some suspicions but suspicions, I have learned, are not answers. Best kept to myself.

I just know simple is easier. Simple allows for a lot of variations and differences. Simple works, whether it is with friendships or business or faith. I don’t know why we make things so complicated. What do we benefit from it? From where I sit, complexity too often. gets in the way of the most basic of things. Faith. Friendship. Love. True success. (the kind where you get to live the life you love.).

Last night was simple. You can see it in our smiles in the picture. I hate the picture of me, but I love having the picture of Hugh and I. The smiles say it all. Two friends who love each other, glad to see each other. Pure joy.


Be well. Travel wisely,



  1. We ( us kids from Sing-Out) love you too Tom! Just keeping it simple. You never looked down or judged us, always just gave a smile and would lend an ear and of course a hug or boat ride if needed. I guess what i’m Trying to say is SIMPLY thank you! For being you and being a friend. ❤️

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