This weekend I attended my 38th high school reunion. Not 25th, 30th or 40th, but 38th! Two lovely classmates decided to put together, a get together. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, but I said I would, so I did. I do not get excited about superficial small talk and I feared that is what would end up happening.
And it did. Where do live? What do you do? How old are your kids? This went on from person to person for a bit of time, with most of us trying to strategically position ourselves to minimize repetition. And then something lovely happened.
We shared a meal. Tasty fish tacos lovingly prepared by the fisherman in the group, whose fishing passion just radiates from the depths of him. Tupperware displayed side dishes that really didn’t go with the tacos, but were nevertheless satisfying. And the most delicious golden apples handpicked from a tree in one of the graduates gardens. Tacos, salads, apples, an unusual combination, just like those of us in attendance. Colorful. I like unusual.
It was a small group so we were all able to sit along the table, side by side, elbow to elbow. There is something about a meal together that is so intimate. The stories, the real ones, started flowing, and they flowed naturally, effortlessly. Our fear of judgment, my fear of judgment, just wafted away.
I learned that some of us struggled early on, only to get back on the path that leads to self-actualization. Others never veered off that path, one foot in front of the other meeting challenges head on. We all had personal stories to tell, some sad, some funny, all-entertaining, everyone listening, everyone showing up in the sweetest way.
I learned how one friend met his lovely mate in a skanky bar. I couldn’t take my eyes off him watching his wife as the story unfolded.
Another woman started college in her 50’s and is about to earn her degree at 56 years of age, while working full time. Impressive!
My heart ached for my lovely friend who lost her mother and then battled her own cancer two years later.
And there were more vignettes told as the breezy afternoon wore on.
In the end, like 18 year olds on graduation day, there were sincere hugs and promises of get togethers before the next reunion. That may happen. I hope it does, but probably won’t. Either way, a connection among a disparate group who happened to spend four impressionable years together in high school was made 38 years later!