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Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Best of Friends Must Part



GET READY:

1. Can you guess the meaning of this saying?
2. Do you think it's possible to stay with a friend forever?

READ THIS:

James sees his student, a girl named Jennifer, leaving the Student Activities office with a box under her arm.

James: Hey, Jen. Got your cap and gown?
Jennifer: Yeah...
James: Why so glum, chum?
Jennifer: It's almost Graduation Day.
James: So you should be happy, right? Reaching your goal? The end of four years of hard work? All that?
Jennifer: Sort of. But it's also the end of four years of hanging with my friends.
James: Oh, I see. You're going to miss them.
Jennifer: Of course. It kind of snuck up on me. I guess I thought I'd be with them forever.
James: You forgot the old saying, "The best of friends must part."
Jennifer: Uh-huh. I guess some part of me knew it, but I just didn't want to deal with it.
James: I understand. But chin up, kiddo! The best is yet to come!

NOTES:

One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is that everything changes. Nothing stays the same. This is especially important for students who are graduating from school.

More notes:
  • Student Activities office: Most schools have a special office for planning "extracurriculars," the activities that students do aside from study and classes. This office takes care of those.
  • cap and gown: The traditional clothes for graduation, usually a flat hat and a long robe or gown. These date back to the medieval universities of Europe.
  • Why so glum, chum?: "glum" means sad; "chum" means pal or friend. So this is a humorous rhyming expression to ask someone what's wrong.
  • All that?: This is another way to say "et cetera" or "and so forth."
  • hanging with someone: To "hang" or "hang out" means to spend time (usually with friends), not doing anything in particular.
  • It kind of snuck up on me: Something that "sneaks up" approaches quietly, without being seen. When a date or obligation comes and we are not ready, we might say it "snuck up" on us.
  • forever: Not literally, of course, but for a long time.
  • some part of me knew it: Jennifer is indicating that "deep down" she knew that she would have to leave her school friends someday, but she never allowed herself to think about it very much.
  • chin up: Like "cheer up." Instead of looking down and sad, look up, eyes forward on the future.
  • kiddo: A form of "kid," a friendly way to address a person, usually younger.
  • The best is yet to come!: A well-known expression reminding people that, although they may be sad that something is over, the future holds many more opportunities for happiness.

PRACTICE:

Use the above terms in one of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. Don't be so sad! __________!
2. Sorry I didn't get you a present; your birthday kind of __________.
3. A: __________? B: My best friend is moving away.
4. I'm graduating next month. I can't wait for __________ time!
5. Nice to see you, __________.
6. A: I feel like my happy days are over. B: Nonsense! __________!
7. When you graduate, are you going to get married, have a kid, __________?
8. I haven't seen you in __________.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR WRITING:

If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. Have you ever had to leave school or work friends? How did you feel?
2. Who do you "hang with" these days?
3. Do you believe "The best is yet to come"?

ANSWERS TO THE PRACTICE:

1. Chin up; 2. snuck up on me; 3. Why so glum, chum; 4. cap and gown; 5. kiddo; 6. The best is yet to come; 7. all that; 8. forever

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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