My high school years don’t seem that long ago, but all the old classmates I see on Facebook insist we left those halls at the dusty end of our little town for good a whopping 30 years ago.
They’re so sure of it that they held a reunion a couple weeks back to mark the milestone and see what everyone’s done with the last three decades.
I missed it, tied by family obligation to home 1,500 miles from the party. And as much fun as it looked, I feel like I came out on top.
That’s saying something.
Never miss a local story.
I didn’t get to my 10th reunion because some old friends were already having a party for me the same night, homecoming parties in your honor being one of the perks of settling so far from where you started.
I did make it to the 20th, though, and like the barkers used to promise, that evening I got my money’s worth in the first 10 minutes and the rest of the show was free.
Not only did the ’80s tunes still bounce as infectiously as they did when they were fresh, but old friends were full of new stories and I got to know some people I barely said hi to back in the day.
The 30th would only be better.
But my wife was sweltering through Cub Scout camp with our younger son that weekend, and his big brother — no matter how much he argued otherwise — is too young to be left on his own that long.
So the 11-year- old and I hung out for two days, just a couple of guys filling an empty weekend the best way we knew how.
Instead of reveling in great memories of time long gone at the reunion, I got an early look at what I hope are the good times to come — a time-warp reunion of a future where I can mostly drop the dad bit to just share friendship with my sons.
I let the kid take the lead and learned this boy knows how to party.
Anyone can see I’m a guy who likes my plate piled high, but at least it’s usually a mountain of something homemade and healthy. Not this weekend.
The kid led me to a bar up the street, where the mountain we had set in front of us was a cheeseburger alongside one of the biggest platters of nachos anyone serves in this town, and two big sodas.
Afterward he had the great idea of heading to the movies to see if anything good was playing.
The only tickets left were smack in the front row of a superhero film where we had to keep twisting our necks to take in the whole picture, and every time I turned to see what was happening on the left side of the screen I got a good view of my son’s big grin.
The next day we got up late, ate another heart-stopping meal for breakfast, another one for lunch, then took turns jumping from the high dive at the city pool until my wife, exhausted from the campout, dropped off the Cub Scout to swim with us while she napped.
I was really looking forward to catching up with my high school friends when they first started planning the reunion. Even allowing for the ’80s pop I missed, though, I think my time-warp reunion beat it out for fun.
And the way time spins, the 40th reunion will be here before I know it.
I’ll be there. Unless the boys want to hit a bar and catch a movie.
Richard Espinoza is a former editor of the Johnson County Neighborhood News. You can reach him at email@example.com.