Returning to the hotel I showered and hit the rack. Now not having flown for 15 years, I forgot about how the flight will suck all the fluids out of you. I didn’t realize how dehydrated I was until I was awakened by a bad charlie horse in my calf. Well after a 4-5 hour flight with no legroom, I’m now sure I’m having a DVT blood clot or something else that has been drilled into my head from watching too much MeTV, the old folks channel where you are bombarded with medical commercials and AARP ads. After a fitful sleep I get up and head out to Kroger’s for Gatorade, Propel, water and baby aspirin. Let the hydrating begin. In a matter of a couple of hours I’m feeling much better and ready to head over to my best buddy’s house for my first catch-up bullsh!t session.
The next day, Saturday, is the reunion from 5:00 PM to Midnight at a sports bar pizza joint right by my hotel. First thing I do that morning is get breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day and quite possibly my favorite. Waffle House is on my list. The one close to my location is like a Waffle House Annex. A mini version. Crammed full of people with no sign of a seat anytime soon. Right down the road is a Tim Horton’s. Of course there is. When I lived here 40 years ago there weren’t any Tim Horton’s this side of the Canadian border. Today in Columbus you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one. (Easy there PETA folks, it’s an expression). The coffee IS good but I can’t understand the draw of the menu. Nothing special. Bacon breakfast sandwiches on toasted bagels. Nice folks working there. I get the double bacon and cheese thing and an iced coffee and I’m on my way. Hit the music-Go-Round guitar store on Bethel Road. Guitar overload. I have extra money stashed in case I find a treasure. Found a sweet 1960s sunburst Fender Mustang severely over priced at $950. These guys will not budge on the price so I leave it and head to another good buddy’s house for a pre-reunion visit.
Gary has a really nice place right close to everything near and dear to our hearts from when we grew up about 2-3 miles from our old neighborhood. His older brother was there for a while and it was another great bullsh!t session that lasted 4 hours. His parents have both passed but his house is full of great memory triggers from a simpler time. His mom taught piano and sang and led the church choir, her piano is in his living room. I choked up missing her southern twang when she greeted us as we came through their home to hang in their son’s bedroom in the basement. She left a huge mark on me that I will never forget. His dad was a classical vocalist and voice teacher. Many Saturdays we would hear him giving lessons upstairs in the living room as we were warned to turn down our Pink Floyd or Bachman Turner Overdrive in the basement. Good times. Again it was super to hear what had gone on with my buddy while I was out in California the last 40 years. He told me of a time when his dad had the juniper bushes on the side of their old house torn out to re-landscape about 10-12 years ago. They found a 6-pack of Michelob beer still connected by the plastic rings although the bottoms had deteriorated. Pull tabs, remember those. Those bushes took a long time to give up their secrets.
The reunion. Got there about 6:00 PM. Right away I’m met by an old friend from junior high. The ladies putting on the event get me a nice name tag. I will certainly need it. Most of the folks here look the same, I am not one of them. I talked to as many people there as I could. I talked to folks that I did not remember. I talked to folks that did not remember me. I got to meet up in person with people that I had become friends with from Facebook. Several people talked to me that I thought I had pissed off in high school, they didn’t seem to think so. I did apologize to more than a few people there. I was a very mixed up kid my sophomore and most of my junior year. Guess what? I come to find out that MANY of the people I knew thought THEY were the loner/nerd/no direction kid in our classes there. We were all so young. Many times while watching my own kids go through the trials of high school I felt sorry for them. I knew what they were going through. I was not a ‘popular’ kid there, however I knew a lot of the other kids since I was born and raised in Columbus. I reconnected with one fine lady that I have technically known since I was born. I think most of our class that attended had aged very well. There were a few gimpy sorts like myself, a few over weight and a few challenged in the hair department, but as a group we looked pretty good. Those imperfections are reflections of our vast experiences and help tell our stories. I know for a fact that some of the folks that looked the same as they did in high school do make a noise when they get up out of chairs or when they collapse into bed at night. We are the class of 1977, Hoorah! (ouch.)
Most of us held our liquor well and some had more fun than others in that area. I’m tickled that so many of you guys were still around and chose to attend this event. If I missed you there or did not get enough time to talk, we will make that up before the year is out. I’m nationwide and on the interweb smarty-box thing and there are several ways to reach me. Same goes for so many of you folks – talk to each other. Many of you still live local, I understand why, Columbus is a great place. I’m very proud to see how well the town is doing. I’m very proud to see how well all of you are doing. I’m very happy that the younger bartenders at Amano’s think there are 4 ounces in a shot. This was a hoot and you all made my evening. Go Braves.