Thursday, October 09, 2008

Reunion Trip

A bottle of white, a bottle of red
Perhaps a bottle of rosé instead
We'll get a table near the street

In our old familiar place
You and I - face to face..

- Billy Joel, "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" (1977)

This is the beginning of a song from Billy Joel's album The Stranger, which was released during my senior year of high school. The song deals with old friends and classmates getting back together and recounting how life has changed them and others.

While the song ends up painting a somewhat dismal picture of life changes and of growing old, that is highly dependent upon an individual's perspective. I had the chance to expand upon that perspective when I went to Pittsburgh over this past weekend for the 30-year reunion of my high school graduating class.

This gathering was part and parcel of how the world has grown up along with us, and how we've kept up (or not). One of our more intelligent and industrious classmates established an Internet presence for our class, and as the site took off more and more classmates were located, contacted, and before you knew it a reunion weekend was set up.

I attended this high school for only two years, but felt much more at ease and at home with this group. I was a band geek and a troublesome academic with a penchant for being a bit too self-righteous for my own good, but I still had some friends, many of whom also came back for the weekend.

I attended the Saturday evening dinner gathering. I brought Leslie with me, which made for some interesting exchanges because we were recognized more for our siblings at times; "Hey, it's Dave's brother and Rhett's sister!" Leslie graduated from the same high school 3 years after me. She has held onto her good looks a lot better than I have.

There was good barbecue, sufficient libations, great conversation, and a moderate to large bonfire going outside all evening. The live band that was booked couldn't perform, but that seemed more of a blessing to the events at hand.

As the evening wore on, some were inside, some were out by the beer, but most of us were around the fire. A couple of guys pulled their cars close and turned on the stereos. The fire was warm, and those around it commiserated, contemplated, and in some cases appeared to be trying to capture perhaps a glimpse of what it was like to sit around a fire 30 years ago.

It was a good time, then and now. Having Leslie at my side was an added blessing. She is one big reason that this weekend felt more like a renewal for me than just a chance to reunite and reminisce.

It looks like the Internet presence will facilitate contact and future gatherings for many years to come. Those who set up the site and assisted with the reunion have earned the thanks of many for a job well done.

On a related note, the trip was very smooth and surprisingly affordable, even when booking plane tickets about 10 days out from the trip. We flew out of Montrose, which was about $120 cheaper than a round trip out of Grand Junction.
Kayak is an invaluable resource for locating these kinds of deals.

Have a good rest of the week.

No comments: