I survived my 20th high school reunion. Part 2
After my man-sized pull on my Jack and Coke, I looked around and recognized quite a few classmates… Angela, Matt, Chalisa, Dan, Julie, Abby, Megan, Bryon, Tricia, Erin, Stacy, Amanda, etc… Now I will say right now, that this is not everyone that was there, this is just a quick list of who I remembered seeing at the beginning, and I could have very well missed some, and added some that were not there until later. I wondered over and said hello to Bryon, attempted to firm up some plans for crashing at his place that night, etc… I then went and chatted with Dan for a bit, asked about how his daughter was doing, if he’d been shooting lately, etc. I spoke with Matt and his wife quite a bit. They are very good, down to earth, normal people. I will say that Matt’s lovely wife Leah, has done a great job of calming Matt down! Or at least I’m assuming it was her! LOL, just pokin’ a little fun Matt, you are a great guy. One of my larger surprises for the evening arrived about 30 minutes after I had; Mike flew in from, I believe it was AZ, with his wife. The surprise was that not only did Mike remember me, he was quite happy to talk and hang out with me. Now, you have to understand, Mike and I were on polar opposites of our high school class, in fact I can remember a number of times where we exchanged some heated, very unkind words. Now I’m not trying to paint myself as some poor hapless victim in this relationship, quite the contrary I definitely gave as good as I got! I was, to say the least, completely taken aback. Here was a guy that arguably disliked me as much as I disliked him, and here we were talking amongst ourselves and the others in attendance. I’m sure that the judicious amounts of social lubrication imbibed by both of us played a part in our amicable conversing, but none the less, we did more than co-exist in a small shared space without resorting to yelling. There were more pleasant surprises in store for me, Kathleen coming up and saying hello and asking how I was, what I was doing, etc… was unexpected, pleasantly unexpected, but unexpected none the less. Jim, who I swear has a portrait of himself 20 years older locked up in a closet a la Dorian Gray, was happy to shoot the shit, and chat.
During this time I was marveling at some of these surprises with Missy and Chalisa, and was informed that I had missed an entire group of people in our high school on my preliminary Blog concerning the 20th reunion I was now enjoying(?!). Both Chalisa and Missy were part of a group of people that I will now dub The Floaters. The Floaters have an uncanny ability to seemingly effortlessly float between the many different socio-economic groups of high school. To the members of this group, I wish to offer my apologizes for leaving you out of the earlier post, it was not intentional… it is just that I view your remarkable ability to float with such amazement that I tend to block it out! 🙂
One of the other earlier arrivals at the reunion was Bill and his wife. Bill was as pleasant as he has always been, but now sports a rather dazzling mustache! I was very surprised to learn that after his stint with the USMC (Thank you for your service Bill! And all the other members of PHS 1993 who served in the Military, I appreciate your services and salute you all!) Bill was in an IT field like me…. At some point after that, Bill did what I think many of us would like to do and just said Fuck it, quit the job, the rat race, etc. and became a Farrier (Horse-shoe’er) Now this floored me, as I would have never pegged Bill for the type to say fuck it, not that I have any issues with it, hell I envy him! I just didn’t expect it of him. Bill is a great conversationalist, and I enjoyed our time chatting.
There were, sadly, still a few classmates that seem to hold to the old “rules” Angela said almost nothing to me until after, or at least I assume after, multiple drinks, not great, but still better than Jodi, who the entire evening never said one word to me. Then of course there was Steve, who I didn’t recognize, so I made no attempt to speak with, but, neither did he. To them, I say… Oh well, you didn’t hurt my feelings any… sorry you couldn’t have grown up after 20 years.
Tammy arrived at some point, it was great to talk to her and once again remind her, that yes, we are all getting to be middle-aged! 😉 Sorry Tammy, but you know it’s true! I also got to talk briefly with Julie, Abby, and Amanda…. Amanda was, well, she was Amanda! I don’t think she will ever be able to sit still for more than a few minutes where there are other people about! I briefly spoke with Erin, not much more than a hello, but that was through no fault of either of us, as we were both in the middle of talking to others and doing the quick walk to the bar.
Tricia was at our reunion as well, and I got the opportunity to talk with her and apologize for not stopping in and saying hello when I was dropping off Cushla after our visit. I explained, honestly even, that I didn’t want to intrude, and that in the past we hadn’t exactly been friends! It was very nice getting the opportunity to talk with her, catch up, and realize that she is the epitome of people growing up, and becoming wiser, more tolerant and generally pleasant people! Tricia, if you read this, I just want to say thank you for re-affirming my beliefs that humanity can evolve, and people can change! I mean no disrespect, nor am I being snarky, you are a wonderful person, and I look forward to talking with you on FB, and at the next reunion.
The evening progressed with more social lubrication, a couple of quick trips to the “buffet” I will say the meatballs were rather tasty, but they removed the food a little quickly for my taste, but that’s why I stopped at Penguin Point beforehand! The music selection was, surprisingly, quite diverse and pretty good. I will say that the DJ didn’t seem to get the fact that we all were attempting to talk… the music was far too loud, and numerous people, including myself had asked them to turn it down. Apparently the DJ’s idea of turning it down was to nudge the slider down about 1/16th of an inch, and then turn it back up even higher after a few minutes! Annoying, but not the end of the world; most of us just went outside and talked on the balcony. After a while, it was determined that the reunion should move from the Country Club, to the Eagles lodge, as another of our classmates was in the process of playing a gig, and the atmosphere, and the drink prices, are much better at the lodge.
I would estimate that about 95% of those in attendance migrated to the Eagles Lodge. It was very, very loud upstairs, but downstairs was much more conducive to conversation! This is where I spent about 85% of my time at the Eagles, talking with Matt, Chalisa, Chalisa’s Husband, Julie, Bryon and his wife, Mike and his wife, and various others as they drifted in and out. It was a great time. I saw many people that I know, and quite a few that I did not. There were many conversations had, and far too many laughs to remember. During one of these many conversations, I lost track of Bryon and his wife… I was mildly concerned, as he was my lodging for the night. After a few minutes I wandered upstairs to see if I could find them. Still no luck, I wandered outside in time to see their car pulling out. Oh well, I send a couple quick text messages to see what the deal is, and find out that they are running for food. Later on I find out that Bryon ate, and then promptly passed out! LOL 😀 I was not really concerned, as I knew I could make do regardless. About this same time the party was beginning to disperse. I said my good byes and went to my car, where I sat for a bit. I jumped on FB and saw that a couple of my favorite people in Plymouth were still up and going strong. Don and Kathy are the Mother and Step-father of a good friend from days past, Chris. I posted a quick follow up message, and to my delight was invited over. I headed over to their place, to find them all on the back porch bar. At this point Don, Kathy, Kathy’s daughter Heather; who I also know from days past, and another of their friends our outside hanging out, drinking and generally having a good time. I bellied up to the bar, had a drink or two and proceeded to spend a couple more hours catching up with good friends. Around 0330 I think it was, everyone was beat, and started to turn in. I was offered any place in the house I could crash, but politely declined, as they already had a full house with Heather, her husband, and her children there. The last thing they needed was a large, snoring guy waking everyone up! I said my goodbyes and headed to the car.
I decided at this point, as any middle-aged madman would, that crashing in the car for a couple of hours would be a good idea. I choose to park close by in the Penguin Point parking lot, it’s fairly quiet, and secluded there. Unfortunately I made the mistake of parking too close to the street light. I reclined my seat, cracked the windows, and proceeded to attempt to nap. It was not easy, it was bright, and though exhausted, sleep was elusive. I grabbed my tee-shirt that I had worn earlier in the day and used that as a face cover to assist in sleeping, it was just beginning to work, when I heard the rather distinctive crackle of a police radio; Great, just what I need hassled by my hometown PD for trying to be good and not driving after drinking. I popped my head up enough to see the cruiser and the officer approaching my car. I sat back up in the seat and rolled the window down a little farther and prepared for harassment. To my delight the officer, who appeared to be very young but that could just be my middle age’edness peeking through, was just wanting to know what I was doing and make sure there was no distress, I wasn’t dead, etc… He asked if I had been drinking, and I responded that yes I had, it had been a few hours by this time, but yes I had. I offered to move along, but he stated that it was OK, and to stay safe and have a good evening. Wow, so much win on this trip I could barely believe it! I reclined my seat back again and had a fitful nap until around 0500. At that point I gave up and headed out of town. I stopped off at the gas station as I was heading out and grabbed some caffeine, and off I went. After about an hour or so of driving… well, more of madly trying to keep myself awake through various methods, I gave up and pulled into a Travel Plaza/truck stop. I went in, used the facilities, grabbed additional sustenance and went to the car. This time I left it running with the AC on so I wasn’t sweltering, and actually got a couple hours of sleep! Once I woke up and got back on the road, it was a long, but un-eventful trip. I will say that next time I hope that our reunion is on a different weekend than the BBF, as attempted to find a place to stay, that isn’t over $200/night, is near impossible!
I am glad I finally decided to attend, and that I didn’t wimp out at the end and just head home. I learned a lot about those that I shared my middle and late teens with, and even learned a little more about myself. All in all it was a wonderful, if exhausting, time.
Stay safe my friends, and live your life like you stole it, ‘cause no one is getting outta here alive!