Sunday, August 09, 2009

1969 - 2009 40 Years Down The Road

When 2008 turned into 2009 I had no immediate idea that it would be a year with so many memories. In 1969 I was eighteen years old. I graduated from high school. It was the summer of Woodstock and the first steps of men on the moon. Of course, it wasn't all good. The Vietnam War was raging on, Sharon Tate and her friends were brutally murdered by Charles Manson and some of his followers, and in December of 1969 the good vibes of Woodstock were destroyed when a young black man was murdered by a Hell's Angel in front of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones at the now infamous Altamont concert. This event was memorialized in the film "Gimme Shelter". On a more personal level, I will soon be attending my 40th high school reunion. I graduated with nearly 500 people. Almost all of them have been tracked down. 30 people from my class have died. The rest are all over the United States. I always find it amazing how you can spend a chunk of your life with a group of people, or share an event with thousands of people, only to realize later that you will never be together with those same people again. Lately I have received a steady flow of emails pertaining to my reunion. There is a group of very dedicated former classmates who have done a lot of work tracking down people and organizing the event. Occasionally one of these emails will contain a photo of the planning committee. My friend, Tom, a classmate and friend for 40 years, and myself, joked that everyone in the picture "looked like bunch of old people". When I shared this with my wife, she said, "Have you looked in the mirror lately"? There's no doubt that everyone, including me, has traveled many miles since 1969. We are not the youthful, energetic, young people we once were. I'm sure many have had very good lives. Others, I am also sure, have probably had more difficult times. Regardless of the ups and downs of my own journey, I am glad to be one of the survivors. I look forward to seeing old friends that are still part of my life as well as the many that I have not seen in 40 years. I'm still blown away that 40 years has passed! This reminds me how important it is to live in the moment. It's the only effective way to put the brake on and slow things down. Regardless of age, I am still a rock and roller and a pretty cool Pa Paw. I'm not part of the "Walker Brigade" yet!

No comments: