By Tom Ehrich

I hadn't seen Ken since we left Durham, NC, six and a half years ago. But he and I went straight to the kitchen and picked up where we left off.

Football, of course, was number one, as his favorite Duke Blue Devils were nationally ranked this season. We debated Alabama vs. Auburn, whether Nick Saban will take the University of Texas coaching job, and other armchair issues.

Then came pro football, and his vanishing golf game (mine disappeared the day we left Durham). Plus children, of course.

Pete joined us, while our wives talked in the next room. He had some important stories to share about a recent golf outing of surpassing ineptitude and the young crook who tried to break into his shack out on the woodlot, only to be caught by a neighbor brandishing a shotgun.

I treasured every minute of it. Is there anything so reaffirming in life as good friends of long standing?

Going out on a limb here, but it seems to me that Jesus probably was a "good old boy." Not of the bigoted sort, of course, but the raconteur spinning yarns, the friend who was happy just to stand around and talk about life, the neighbor who took delight in whoever happened to be living next door.

Not starchy, not puffed-up, not worried about appearances, not composing his next monolog while we talk, not trying to go one-up -- but rather the kind of man or woman we most enjoy meeting, the one who makes us feel loved.

Could our conversation have been more erudite? I suppose so. Ken has areas of expertise, and so do I. But we learned long ago that common ground matters more than expertise. Common ground isn't about erudition, but story-telling.

Jesus was a story-teller. Maybe he was smart as a whip, too. But who cares? It was his stories that changed lives and his entering into the everyday of life.