Can it really be 30 years since I graduated from high school? It simply doesn't seem possible.
Facebook made the reunion better, in my estimation. In the first place, I was able to recognize many more people because I've been staring at their profile pic for the past several months.
Second, it let me be acquainted with people before I met them again for the first time.
I didn't make it to my 20 year reunion. We were in West Africa at the time and I couldn't make it home.
I did go to my 10 year reunion. It was like all the cliques and nonsense of high school was still in place.
But the 30 year reunion was a bit different.
There didn't seem to be the same cliques, and if there were, I didn't seem to notice.
Actually, I left the reunion feeling pretty good about myself. I'm at a very good place in my life. I have a wonderful family and a great career. My life is not a wreck.
I'm not judging, but just making observations here, so don't get bent out of shape if your life IS a wreck. This isn't about you.
At nearly 50 years old, so many of my former classmates still don't have their lives together. Let me say it this way; I'm grateful to God for a loving wife and a faithful relationship with her. I'm grateful that I don't "party" - I must seem awfully boring to most of my former Chieftains. I'm grateful, I guess, to be boring in the world's eyes.
One particularly interesting tidbit is that I was honored to be asked to give a blessing for the meal. I was asked with the caveat to remember that there were church-goers and non-church goers; believers and atheists. I was asked to pray in a manner that wouldn't offend people.
Well, they were in luck, because I was hungry and the barbeque looked and smelled delicious, so it was short, sweet and to the point, all in the name of Jesus. Several folks later thanked me for blessing the meal.
We had a wonderful meal with good company. My best friend, Martin Whipple, and I were the only men at a table full of women, my wife included. It was fun catching up with old friends.
They handed out awards and I won the award for "Most Countries Traveled" with 27. (Although I later recounted and discovered it was actually 30) Everyone "ooohed" and "ahhhhed" and I had my picture taken with the presenter. The award was a 3" gold-colored plastic loving cup. But, hey! It was an award!
The least pleasant part (putting it nicely) of the evening was a local comedienne they hired to "entertain" us. She apologized to me BEFORE she started and again afterward. It was the single most vulgar assault of the senses I have ever endured. Everyone at my table was aghast. My wife got up and walked out. I'll bet SHE wasn't given the caveat about "not offending people!"
They had a live band, which was good, but was better for a crowd of 20 or 30 Somethings instead of a bunch of nearly 50's who wanted to talk. My wife and I left early due to the volume of the band.
The organizers worked very, very hard to make this reunion happen, and for that, I am grateful! It was a good venue. The food was excellent. The price was good. The company was excellent.
I hear they are possibly planning a 50th Birthday Party for all of us in 2 years. Perhaps a murder-mystery-dinner is in the makes. I think that would be fun.
In any case, I enjoyed seeing everyone again. There were some there with whom I do not see eye to eye, but we put our differences away and really enjoyed each others' company for the evening.
Most interestingly, I walked away feeling pretty good about the life that God has given me. Not with a feeling of superiority; for I'm not superior to anyone. Not with a feeling of being better off than others; for life is not about "stuff." (and a whole lot more people have a whole lot more stuff than me!) But with the feeling that I'm very happy I've made the decisions I've made and that I'm very happy with the direction my life is heading. And I praise God for it!