It was just a little note that trickled across the Facebook page the other day while I was busily working on my computer doing, well, Facebook things.
It was so subtle, so smooth and so slick.
It was like when, without notice or warning, a mosquito lands on you and then, BAM, a couple of weeks later you’re in the doctor’s office with a diagnosis of malaria.
Actually that did happen to me. Maybe it’s fodder for a future column. Then again, maybe it’s something I’d rather not rehash.
Ok, to be honest, getting hit with that little message – the Facebook one, not the malaria one – pales (no pun intended) in comparison to sweating out (again, no pun intended) a diagnosis of malaria.
The message was plain and simple. One of my Facebook friends was reminding her Facebook world (of which I am a part of) of plans for the 40th reunion of the Harrison High School class of 1979.
It didn’t even pertain to me. I’m HHS Class of ’80. Why would it concern me?
Well, upon further review there was the little item of members of the classes of ’78 and ’80 being invited for part of the weekend’s events, so I guess it did concern me.
But even though the message consisted of only one line, I found myself doing the proverbial “reading between the lines” and what I read hit me like a ton of bricks: I’m one year away from my 40th class reunion.
Now, I know there are many of you out there in subscription land who may be chuckling while you read this, many who may be thinking, “Forty? Hah. Try 50. Or even 60.”
I know there are many of you out there for whom No. 40 is a distant memory in the rearview mirror.
While I may make it to where you are one day, it doesn’t make No. 39 going on No. 40 any easier.
Whatever the milestone, thoughts of our high school days gone by seem to return anew this time of year.
Alma High School’s seniors graduate tonight and Van Buren’s walk across the stage next Friday night. Mountainburg’s graduation was last night and Mulberry’s was Thursday night while Cedarville’s was earlier this month.
Seniors from all five of our Crawford County public schools aren’t thinking about reunions 10, 20 or 30 years down the road. Oh, but soon they will be because it goes by in a flash.
Do you remember the day you graduated from high school? Does it seem like it was only a year or two ago? Or maybe even a few months?
It flies by, doesn’t it?
On graduation night following our ceremony 39 years ago, a ceremony in which speeches were given by, among others, the top four graduates in our class — which turned out to be four male athletes — my friend Scott Turner and I hopped into his dad’s pickup truck and headed out to a favorite gathering spot on the Buffalo River south of Harrison.
But when we got there, and saw there was a little too much celebration going on for our tastes, we decided to go back into town and stop by our friend Wally West’s house to hang out there for the night.
Well, Wally wasn’t home. Little did we know he was out on Bull Shoals Lake doing some night fishing.
Still, we waited on him, thinking that at any moment he’d pull into the driveway. We’d break out a deck of cards or hit the couch for a movie on TV.
The longer we waited the more tired we got. Instead of waking Wally’s parents we climbed into the unlocked van that belonged to his dad, who was known to us simply as “Big Wallace.”
The van was equipped with sleeping quarters so Scott took one bed and I got the other.
The next thing we knew the van was moving.
We’d fallen asleep. Big Wallace had gotten behind the wheel and was driving to work.
Not knowing what to do – hopping up and shouting, “Good morning, Big Wallace! – didn’t seem like the ideal plan when the guy you’re greeting is operating a moving vehicle. So we did the smartest thing we could think of: We went back to sleep.
Big Wallace’s next stop was to join his mates in their Saturday morning coffee club. Once he got out of the van we thought, “Let’s go in and explain the situation over a cup of coffee with Big Wallace and the boys.”
But the idea didn’t stick. Oh, Big Wallace and the boys were a nice enough lot, truly good ol’ boys, but neither Scott nor I were coffee drinkers.
So we settled back in and nodded back to sleep.
Eventually Big Wallace made it to his job at the grocery store. Scott and I, after a few more minutes of dozing in the van, walked in and, when Big Wallace asked what we were doing at the store, we explained that we’d been in the back of the van the whole time.
Naturally Big Wallace didn’t believe us. He’d been down this road with us before. No, not the riding-in-the-van-down-Main-Street road – that was a first. He’d seen us in action throughout our high school days as Scott, Wally and I concocted our share of head shakers, right up through graduation night.
All it took to make him believe us was to sing him a brief, but familiar, little song. You see while driving down the road he met the local ice delivery truck, the driver of which everyone referred to as the ice man. Some, like Big Wallace, even acknowledged him in song.
Once we warbled out, “There’s goes the ice man,” mimicking the way only Big Wallace could have sang that song, he knew he hadn’t been alone on that morning drive.
Had I been one of the four male athletes presenting speeches at my graduation I might have paid more attention to the ceremony. And while I did get a diploma, I also got a lifetime of memories made with friends.
I’m sure our graduates will also have fond memories of their graduation night and their high school days. My prayer is that they’ll be safe on graduation night and that they will have many future reunions at which to gather and relive those memories.
Congratulations and good luck Class of 2019.
Bennett Horne is the editor of the Press Argus-Courier and Alma Journal. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.