High School Reunion

For the last two nights I have been the plus one for my wife’s 50th high school reunion; she’s an alum of Maryville High School. It’s been interesting. In the group of close to 100, there were those who have stayed in close contact, those who have had essentially zero contact, those who stayed in the same neighborhood they grew up in, and those who came from across country.

A few thoughts:

The Capitol Theater in Maryville looks nothing like I remember from 40 or 50 years ago. Our Saturday night dinner/dance/program was held there, and had a lot more meaning for the alumni than it did for a plus one. There was a professional looking slide show of old photos, etc, a memoriam piece for the departed that was very tastefully done, a pitch for money for the Foundation that was mercifully low-key, and a pretty good buffet style dinner.

I knew all of my shoes have non-skid soles; they work well for a person of a certain age. Not so great for dancing if you want to do anything that involves sliding your feet. Of course, any skills I may have had on the dance floor are in the dim and distant past, so it’s probably a non-issue. Or should be.

I managed for the most part to avoid the subject of politics, which is usually good policy for an outlier like me in pretty much any social situation in this area. Some of the conversations I did fall into were pretty interesting, and only one was an organ recital (“you know I’m having some trouble with my heart, my lungs, my kidneys, my liver, etc.”).

All in all, for an introvert in a large crowd of people who mostly knew each other pretty well, it was a pleasant weekend. It was good to see Suzanne enjoying herself with friends and acquaintances from her past. Actually, that was the best part.

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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