No politics, just ailments…

I attended a high school reunion in my home town Ruidoso last weekend, It’s the third or fourth one I’ve been to in the past several years. This one marked our 75th birthdays.

Usually, these events revolve around just two questions:

“Do you remember when we … ?

or

“Whatever happened to old so-and-so… ?

This year’s was a bit different, with much of the conversation focused on health-related issues — knee replacements, cataract surgery, heart issues, arthritis, etc. But as my good friend Jimmy pointed out, it’s actually a good thing because you know you’re not the only one going through these health issues now and you have a support base of friends who may help you cope with these annoyances.

I was pleasantly surprised that there were no political issues that were raised during the conversations at the retreat. I was a bit fearful of that, given that some of my classmates were likely on the opposite spectrum of my political philosophy and I didn’t want to have to wade into any of those kinds of discussions during an otherwise pleasant experience. I think it was a good reminder that most people are inherently good, kind and helpful if you just steer away from political discussions.

“Hail mighty Warriors, brave and bold, onward to victory Blue and Gold…”*

Of course, there were some great stories that were told during the weekend. I think forcing yourself to dig into these memories that have been filed away in the furthest corners of your brain is good mental exercise. I especially enjoyed reminiscing about our experiences on the Warrior football team. I didn’t think we won that many games, but my teammates seemed to have fonder memories of our on-field accomplishments, so that was good to hear. I also got to learn more about who I consider my two best friends from high school, Jimmy and Burly (known now more as Lewis).

Burly told a great story about how when he went to elementary school, his faithful dog accompanied him. His teacher allowed the dog to be in the classroom with him during the school day. At the end of the school year, the well-behaved pup got a report card from the teacher. I never heard what the dog’s gradepoint was, but I’m sure he passed. The dog even went to school on his own one day when Burly couldn’t make it. He also said his dog rolled over on his back at school at one point, exposing his private parts and prompting a female classmate to ask “does yours look like that?”

The three amigos, from left to right, Jimmy, Burly and yours truly…

And Jimmy told a story about another classmate named Spike who has become a bit of a free spirit and showed up unannounced at Jimmy’s home in Dallas a few years ago. Apparently not having any permanent place to stay, Jimmy graciously allowed him to bunk there. But Spike didn’t just bring himself. He brought his girlfriend at the time (who may or may not have been pregnant — I can’t remember), his dog and — get this — two parrots. The “visitors” eventually took over Jimmy’s living room as their guest room and stayed longer than Spike had said he would be there. The even-tempered and kind-hearted Jimmy eventually had to nudge them out of the house to reclaim the living room. At last report he (and the parrots) may be living in New Orleans.

Many of my classmates have been successful. Lots of them moved away to become professionals in widespread locations around the country. Several of them have stayed around the Ruidoso area, owning businesses, working in the local schools, contributing to the community, etc. And many of them have done a significant amount of travel. Although a few have died, a surprising number of us are still around.

All in all, not bad for about 50 kids who grew up in a small mountain town in southern New Mexico.

*Those are the words that begin the Ruidoso High School fight song, written by our own band director, LeRoy Gooch. I can still sing the entire thing, especially if I’ve had more than one glass of wine or other lubricant.

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