Old Stomping Grounds
September 7, 2010
Like so many of our fellow Americans, Mr. Karen and I spent the long Labor Day weekend traveling. We packed a lot into the three days: our high school class reunion, a visit to my side of the family, and a visit to his side of the family. The reunion was first on the schedule. How it got to be 30 years since we graduated from high school, Iâ€™m not entirely sure, but the calendar says it’s so. This was only the second reunion Mr. Karen and I have been to; if we go to another, we’re bringing our own nametags with our yearbook pictures on them, as at our 20th, my nametag was missing, and at this one, Mr. Karen’s was. I’d blame it on the confusion of two classmates being married to each other, except we’re one of about a half dozen such couples and none of them seem to have this problem. Ah well, it’s a minor thing, and it did give us another topic of conversation for the evening. And that’s what the event was aboutâ€”conversing. There was no sit down dinner and no dancing, so plenty of opportunity to mingle. I talked with a lot of people, not all of whom I remembered or who remembered me, but missed talking to plenty more even though only a fraction of our class was able to make it. There were a few people I was hoping to see who didn’t come but a couple of people I never expected to see did show up, so that sort of evened out. There was still a good sized crowd when the staff at the venue was blowing out the candles and breaking down the buffet tables and subtly encouraging us to leave, cheerleaders and geeks and burnouts and star athletes all just hanging out together. It was fun.
Not fun was having the smoke alarm in the hotel room go off when we tried to use the heat when we got back from the reunion (it was unseasonably cold that night), nor was being woken up by a call from the front desk at 6:45 the next morning (after we’d gotten to bed around 1) asking if we had a green Pontiac van (never again will I grumble at being asked to fill in my vehicle information at check-in; if this place had us do that they could have seen we weren’t the culprits). We went back to sleep after the phone call but eventually got up and got breakfasted and made our way to my mom’s, where we spent some time before heading out with her to visit my brother, who was at work and had invited us to take a tour. He’s back at the amusement park that had its heyday in our childhoods; it’s currently being converted to about three or four different uses, one of which is a petting zoo. He hadn’t told me there were already a few animals there, so that was an added bonus. One of our nieces came by and all of us went out for a late lunch to celebrate my brother’s birthday (my little brother is in his mid-forties now, which, like the 30 years since high school, seems quite puzzling). After that, we fought through our food coma to squeeze in a visit to a high school classmate who’d skipped the reunion before we headed off to Mr. Karen’s folks’ place, where we spent the rest of the weekend before making our way back home through road construction sites. For once, we didn’t get caught in any big traffic backups, so that was pleasant, but this morning’s commute was obnoxious so my good road luck wasn’t long lived.