My 35th High School Reunion was a couple weeks ago. As the weeks since have passed, I've found myself thinking about it often. It was so wonderful seeing the slightly older, but still very familiar faces. Many of them were in school with me for 12 years. Hard to not have these faces etched into my memory forever.
There is a story, that I've been wanting to share for a long time. It involves a couple guys from junior high and I think I need to tell it. I hope my words do it justice.
I had a wonderful, slow childhood. Summers lasted forever and I lived in a world where I didn't have to grow up too soon. I was able to stay a child for a pretty long time. It helped that one of my best friends was my younger brother Jeff.
One Saturday afternoon during 7th grade, I was across the street playing with the neighbor kids and Jeff. We were playing war. What made this particularly fun was the neighbor's had some very cool old rifles. Heck, they might have been real...with all the firing mechanisms removed. I don't really know, but they had a real feeling about them. I was standing by the tree in the middle of their yard, just getting a good bead on my brother, when out of the corner of my eye I see Danny and Bob riding by on their bikes.
Danny and Bob are like the two coolest guys in my class. They are never over in my area of town. What are they doing here? I freeze in sheer panic and drop my rifle to the ground. I do the very casual head nod and say "hi". They ride by.
Please, dear God. Let them not see me with that rifle. My life will be so over if they did.
Monday morning comes and I head to school with my heart in my throat. What happens if I walk in and everyone is laughing and calling me "Annie Oakley" or worse...."rifle girl" (we weren't the most original group).
As I go into homeroom, I see Danny. He doesn't even look at me. So far, so good. At lunch I see Bob. He doesn't look at me either. The whole day goes by and nothing happens. The relief is overwhelming. I don't think I am going to be the laughing stock of the entire school.
It was at that very moment, that I decided Danny and Bob really were the two coolest guys in our class.
Years go swirling by and here I am 30 years later standing at my reunion talking with Dan (he's a 53 year old guy...I can't call him Danny anymore). For some unknown reason (maybe the wine), this story pops into my head. And before I know it, I"m telling it to Dan. Fortunately, he seems to enjoy the tale and doesn't remember a thing about that day.
Odd, how a moment that seems so potentially devastating and overwhelming at the time...ends up being just a very funny memory.