Monday, September 14, 2009

A Joyful Weekend

I am at home enjoying a quiet and, hopefully, a restful day after a very busy but joyful weekend. It all began on Friday night when I attended the first of two events for my 40th high school reunion. It was a very informal event in a circus like tent outside a local restaurant located on the banks of the Ohio River. The weather was very pleasant and cooperative. Being a casual event I decided to link the present with the past of 40 years ago by wearing my best and brightest tie dyed shirt. As expected I received a few "I see you're still a hippie" comments. Of course, they were all in good fun. A few of my former classmates have remained my friends through the journey of the last 40 years. Most of them were present on Friday but I was also able to connect with friends I have not seen for many years. Typically, people were as I remembered them. We're all a lot older so people have mellowed and egos has subsided. Everyone was very friendly and most seemed genuinely happy to see one another.

After a much needed good night's sleep I got out of bed on Saturday and drove to the monastery. My drive was more cautious and mostly with my cruise control operating for fear of another speeding ticket. I am still feeling the sting of the $173 citation I received on my last trip. I was going to the monastery to connect with a few of the monks who would be joining me for a special mass and celebration lunch at the home of my good friend, Fr. Dennis. Dennis is a retired priest who is now living as a hermit. This is actually a recognized vocation within my church and Dennis was making his solemn profession. The Archbishop of Louisville was there to receive his vows formally and I was there as a friend and witness. Along with the Archbishop, monks, and me, there were a few other friends and local hermits.

Saturday night was the main event for my class reunion. It was a more formal and classy event at a local country club. Although many classmates did not attend it was still a full house. It was a touching and emotional evening. Most of us were just happy to be alive and to reconnect. On one wall were pictures of 32 classmates who have passed from this life. My class was a large class with approximately 475 people. 32 of them have died, approximately 20 or so are missing in action but the reunion team was able to track down everyone else. We were scattered all over the United States and Canada. The best part of the night for me was seeing one of my high school loves...pictured above...who I have not seen or communicated with in many, many years. She was just like I remember her. We spent much of the evening together talking about the past, our time together, and the lives we now have after 40 years. Seeing her was the highlight of my evening. We now have one another's emails so hopefully our renewed friendship will continue going forward. I love to reconnect with my past. When the evening was over I was very happy to receive a booklet that was a kind of updated yearbook with information about where everyone has been, what they have accomplished, and emails to stay connected. All in all, this reunion exceeded all my expectations and it was a joyful and emotional experience.

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