Monday, July 26, 2004

Old Schmold

So as most of you know, I've been feeling old thanks to the onset of my 10 year class reunion. I wasn't sure what to expect either. I've not seen or heard from so many of my classmates since graduation...and my coming out. It's been a year since I was last in Wright, and that was for a benefit golf tournament dedicated to my mother. I was there for 24 hours then.

So Friday night my best friend Jesse and his wife Rae tossed their luggage and 3 dogs into my car and we were off. Rain and construction don't make for a stellar trip, but a normal one for Wyoming in July. We rolled in about 9pm. By 10pm we were on our way to Hank's, a local bar. Some of the class was going to meet up for our pre-reunion party, because there's little else to do in Wright on a Friday night. I got to see a few folks I'd not seen in a long time, and it was a decent time. By 11:30 we were exhausted, so Jess, Rae, and I headed home to bed.

The next morning I got up early for breakfast with my father. I returned the pistol he'd loaned me and got a brand new shiny 10 gauge Ithaca shotgun in return. A decent trade, though I already miss the 9mm. (I know...I have butch moments. Shocking, isn't it?) Up to Hank's (the restaurant side) with Tim and Jackie Wahle (friends) and Dad. Mmm...biscuits and gravy. And an ambulance. Apparently, one of the cooks lost consciousness in the back and dropped a pile of dishes. She dislocated her knee and rolled about in the broken glass in the process, so the local EMT crew was called in to wheel her out on a gurney. Who said Wright isn't exciting? After a few hours listening to Dad ramble on about different rifles, calibers, and hunting stories, it was time to pick up Jesse and Rae for the first official reunion activity.

We left for Panther Pond, the park/recreation area the town built just about the time we graduated. We were supposed to have a picnic up there with everyone's rugrats. Show off the kids, catch up, make sure we remembered one another's faces...that sort of affair. However, Wyoming weather decided to throw us a curveball, and it was FREEZING cold. As in, the small children and babies were likely to get hypothermia, not to mention the "grown ups." So Becka, who had arranged the whole reunion, called in the calvary in the form of her mom. Joanne runs 2 restaurants in town, including the pizza parlor (which didn't exist when I was a kid. Wright is a thriving metropolis now). She opened the shop 4 hours early and fired up the pizza oven. We crammed into the small space, oooing and aaaahing over the kids, answering "What do you do now?" for the 13th time, and worked on 4 super large pizzas. Everyone got along surprisingly well and I was amazed to see how many people showed up...and who some of them were.

After a few hours, we split up. At 7pm, we met at the bowling alley (which also didn't exist when I lived there). We were supposed to be at the golf course, but since it was a screened in porch, the weather again altered our plans. This was VERY appropriate for our class, who usually had problems deciding on anything. Prime Rib for dinner. Our very own bar. Half our class, sans rugrats. Needless to say, we had a few drinks. 3 of the 5 teachers still in town from "the old days" showed up. One bought us a round of shots. We caught up. Then went bar hopping. Heh.

So for those who have been teasing me about being old (including myself) ask yourself this: When was the last time you hit every bar in town (granted, there are only 2 in Wright), closed a bar, moved the party to a house party, closed the house party, and got home at 5am? I know it had been a LONG time for me. But apparently, we weren't as old as we thought we were. I can't tell you everything that happened, but I did get to ride in a Hummer 2 (among other things).

As this post is getting very long, I'll close by saying that I had a GREAT time at my reunion. Not a single person there said or did anything I'd consider rude or homophobic. In fact, I can't tell you how many times I heard "I'm so glad you came out," "You're so much more comfortable now," or "You seem more like...YOU." I managed to not out the other 2 (that I know of) queer classmates, neither of whom were in attendance. I saw old friends and think we'll stay in better touch now. I got to know people better, because there wasn't a bunch of high school popularity clique bullshit. I've got a GREAT connection for a tattoo and piercing place in North Denver, owned by a terrific guy (and his kick ass fun wife). I'm sleepy as hell, but it was all so worth it.

Today's lesson: Call, write, or email someone from your past and reconnect. Touch base with a relative or friend you've not spoken with in too long. There are some great people out there, and they're worth tracking down. Go. Now. I said go!

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