For years I denied my impending high school reunion. I thought that if I pretended it would not happen, it would cease to be, and I could go on living secure in my (false) knowledge that I was not old enough to require one of these gatherings. And for a while it worked--I went through college, moved to another state, got a real job...all the while knowing that my ten-year reunion was on the horizon, looming ever closer, but thinking that it would never really happen. I mean, ten years? For other people, maybe. But not me, and certainly not my friends with whom I graduated.
But then last summer, when my brother Andy attended his ten-year reunion, I heard the sound of inevitability loud and clear, and knew that, sooner rather than later, my time would come.
And sure enough, it did. Last weekend, on Saturday, I drove up to a place called Uncle Ron's, just off Cornhusker Highway, with my friends Evan and Christal. The place itself used to be a seedy joint called The Royal Grove, where I saw many bands in high school and college, but it, like the rest of us, had grown up with the times. And as we got out of their new Mazda and headed for the door, I was actually surprised at how not-nervous I was. I had not seen, or spoken to, most of these people since we all graduated, but we were all in the same boat on that one, so what would it matter?
And you know what? It was great. I mean really, really great. There were no pretenses, no awkwardness, and no ill will. Bygones were bygones, and rivalries had been swept away by the passage of time like the last remnants of the old republic long ago. I saw people I barely talked to in high school, and we chatted like no time had passed at all. Everyone was cordial, friendly, and eager to see what everyone else was up to. From the moment we arrived to the time we left, I was talking and joking and laughing with good friends and mere acquaintances, and nary a hint of bitterness was found. I did forget the names of a few people, and I did end up chatting at length with a few who, to be honest, I did not know at all. And there were several individuals whom I simply did not recognize. But we were all in the same boat, and the strange tie that bound--the simple fact that we graduated together--was enough to wash away any of these inconsistencies in recollection.
Will I see these people in the next ten years? I doubt it. Will we all start becoming friends again? Probably not. But that's the great part about reunions like this: there is no expectation of such things. Everyone present acknowledged that we were all pressing the Pause button for one evening, and would go our separate ways like we did ten years ago, knowing that nothing would really change. And we were all OK with that.
And in another ten years I hope to be back at Uncle Ron's, seeing many of the same people, and saying Hey one more time. Thanks to Molly, Jessie, Jackie, Megan, and the rest of the girls who put on one heck of a reunion. Here's to many more.
And believe it or not, this post marks the three-hundredth entry on The Brighter Side. Thank you to everyone who has read this blog over the years. It has been a blast, and with any luck, I'll be writing posts for many years to come.