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I’m a man with class?

Published: Saturday, June 22, 2013 6:59 a.m. CDT

My 30th class reunion is coming up. I’ve always enjoyed our reunions and look forward to them, but I’m oddly more excited than I probably should be. I think it’s because I haven’t seen most of my classmates since our last reunion five years ago.

I know a lot of people are pretty lackadaisical when it comes to reunions. My wife couldn’t care less about hers. Some of my own classmates not only don’t care about reunions, they wouldn’t walk across the street to go to one.

There are a lot of people who still live in town who won’t make the reunion. I think that’s fine. I’m not going to beg them to come. Everybody has their own thing, their own reasons, their own outlooks. Mine is pro-reunion.

Sure, it’s not perfect. You get those who want to brag about their jobs. Some who want to brag about their kids. Some who want to get drunk and hookup with an old flame although the getting drunk and hooking up are not mutually exclusive.

I don’t care about any of that; I want to see them, anyway. I want to hear about their jobs, their kids and whatever else they want to talk about.

I lived in the same town from the time I was born until after I graduated from high school, so my classmates are lifelong friends. Just because I can’t always remember their names doesn’t mean that we can’t just start back up where we left off.

You don’t have to prove yourself or impress anyone around lifelong friends. You just hang out, have some good belly laughs, maybe imbibe more than you normally would and have a good time. It’s the only way to recapture your youth, really, just for a few hours on a Saturday night.

I remember that last time, I came into town the night before. I went over to the bar next to the hotel just to see if I’d run into anyone I knew. Pretty soon, Joe and Clint showed up with their hair hanging down well below their waistlines. A couple of hippies, you know.

Do I look like the kind of guy who would hang out with a couple of hippies like that? Of course I am. They came over and both hugged me like I was their long-lost brother.

I had never really thought about hugging Joe or Clint, to tell you the truth. Growing up in the same neighborhood, it just never really occurred to me to do that. I didn’t come from a hugging family, so the whole concept is a little foreign to me. But here I was, hugging them back and laughing and having a great time.

I hope they come back for the 30th. Joe’s down in Florida, but he already texted me and said he was going to try to make it.

So much of who we are stems from who we were and who our friends were back in the day. In those days, the village raised the kids together.

Clint lived right behind me on the same block. I remember when he moved to town from Coffeen. He always seems surprised that I remember where he moved from; I don’t know why I remember it. It’s just one of those things you remember for no reason. I had never heard of Coffeen before that, and I don’t think I’ve heard of it since. It’s an anomaly and sometimes we remember anomalies.

Anyway, I remember he told me that his mom said he couldn’t hang out with me because I was too much older than him. She didn’t know we were the same age and I just looked too much older. I got that a lot when I was young. Must have been the mustache.

Not all of my school day memories are good but most of them are. Even the bad ones seem kinda funny now. We don’t focus on the bad memories. You can’t hold onto those things. You don’t have to forget, but you need to forgive and that includes forgiving yourself.

I wasn’t always this adorable; I made mistakes. But if you’re still beating yourself up at 48 for things you said or did when you were 10, you might want to see a doctor about that — one that works inside your head.

Actually, I was pretty adorable. I was a sweet, gentle kid -- most of the time. But you know, some of the guys I remember who were a little rough around the edges, they’re some of the most religious, gentle people I know today. People grow up. It’s nice to see them, break bread with them and keep any long-buried hatchets in the ground where they belong.

I’m not trying to change anyone’s minds about class reunions. If you don’t like them, you don’t like them. But I’m going to mine. It would take an act of Congress to get me to stay home. I’m not sure that would do it.

But, just a fair warning to my hometown: Lock up your daughters and your liquor cabinets because the Class of ’83 is about to descend again. Lord have mercy. ———

©Copyright 2013 by David Porter who can be reached at david@ramblinman.us. All rights reserved. And if any of my classmates need more details, you’ve got my email address.

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