Each installment of The Friendship Files features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with Gabe and Andy, two friends who for more than six years have walked 30 minutes once a week to give each other a high five. The tradition started as a fun way to see each other regularly and came to mean so much more—especially when Gabe got sick with a brain infection and lost his memory. They discuss the origin of the high five, what it’s like to share something special that one friend can’t remember, and the joy that a simple routine can bring to a friendship.
Andy Gullahorn, a 44-year-old singer-songwriter who lives in Nashville, Tennessee
Gabe Scott, a 45-year-old musician and restaurant owner who lives in Nashville
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Julie Beck: Tell me how you met and became friends.
Andy Gullahorn: We first met in 2000, at a show in Birmingham, Alabama. I was playing guitar for my wife, and Gabe was playing guitar for another artist. Somebody booked a show for them to play together.
[A couple years after that, we all] started playing together on a Christmas tour every December, until this year. We loved spending time together on the tour. We would play a lot of games and have competitions on the road. And every year, at the end, we’d be like: “Man, we’ve got to find ways to see each other these other 11 months.” Because we both lived in Nashville. We made that promise for many, many years.
Beck: It seems like it was almost like a camp friendship for a while—where you see each other once a year and you’re best friends in that specific environment, but it can be hard to bring the relationship into “real life.”