"Time is the great equalizer."

Habakkuk:The weirdest thing is that none of us has really changed.
Former Classmate:In spite of ourselves.

So started my twentieth high school reunion. I wrote about my feelings leading up to it here, so that what follows may make a little bit more sense if you read it first. We'll wait...

My wife and I went to a little get-together at the homecoming game on Friday night. I had worked myself into a bit of a froth about the whole affair, so despite a gentle misting rain, we arrived at the game about half-time. Our reunion had a tent set up to one side with drinks and such, so we meandered that direction.

I was greeted by one of my old class members, a bubbly socialite named Libby Ann (Yes, I know, but it is the Deep South and we often have dual names, so get over it). A big hug and a smile along with her saying "Charles!".

Now, you would think that this would be considered a positive way to begin the weekend. People are happy to see me, excited by my presence. They have hungered for my company and think well of me. There are only two problems with that assumption:

  • First, Libby Ann and I were never really close and the excitement seems a little put on (not that I didn't appreciate the effort).
  • Second, my name is Russell.
The rest of the evening was uneventful. I saw a number of folks that I hadn't seen in two decades. They were chatty with the usual questions: where do you live, what do you do, do you have any kids, etc. There were people that I hardly remembered and folks that I did remember that were about the same. After about forty-five minutes, we retired for the evening.

The next evening, my wife and I went across town to a gated community where we were gathering at the clubhouse for our reunion proper. That evening I realized how little most people change. We gathered in the same groups we had in high school, catching up on old times. The food was good and the wine flowed freely, but we did find that we were feeling our age: the music was too loud and the lights too low.

I was heartened to find out that the folks who we believed would do well in life and were the best of the best had done pretty well. Unfortunately, two of our superlatives did not fare as well:

  • One was the guy who we had voted best looking. Twenty years had changed the boy a great deal. He had gained fifty pounds, had no hair to speak of, and had been working in a paper mill for close to twenty years.
  • The other was the guy who had been voted most witty. He seemed to have gotten to the point where like so many people who are often praised, he had begun to believe his own press. He seemed to be his own best audience with the rest of us left to do the best we could with what he left us with. He was in charge of entertainment, but to be honest that would have been a very kind interpretation of what we were provided that evening. (My wife got major brownie points by looking at me and saying "They didn't vote you most witty and gave it to this guy." God, I love her.)
Over all, I have to say that my reunion ended up alright. I think that I laid to rest a number of old ghosts this last weekend, ones that have been riding my shoulder for too many years.