I heard that sentence from a friend of mine when I told him I was going to a High School Alumni dinner in my hometown. It bothered me a little because I love going to those things and swapping lies. I thought there might be something wrong with me but as we talked further, I found out that his high school experience meant little to him. I don’t know why but I did feel better about going. It was a good evening and I got a chance to talk to a lady that I had a date or two with when we were young. Surpringly enough, her life worked out just about the way I would have expected it to.
I was also able to get my weekly newspaper column out of the trip and it follows:
More High School stuff
Once a year in the town where I grew up, the High school Alumni organization organizes a dinner for all graduates of the two Loogootee High Schools with special attention given to the 25 and 50 year anniversary classes. They have been doing this for well over a quarter century. My wife, Susie and I have probably attended these gala affairs 8 or 10 times, usually when I think there’s going to be folks there that we know and even though the members of the honored class of 1962 are a few years younger, some of them are friends of ours.
Like most folks with busy summer weekends, we had to decide which of a couple of events we were going to attend. There was also an invitation to a wedding celebration to consider. We both wanted to attend this and in fact, that would have been Susie’s first choice. Going back to Southern Indiana is more fun for me than it is for Susie because she didn’t grow up down there. In order to convince her, I presented my normal reasons for going plus there was one new purpose so in the end, she was a good sport about it and let me have my way.
The first reason for going is to visit and although I’m really not into that kind of thing, it’s a good way for Susie to catch up on the gossip. As for myself, I am only interested in the real news but since my sister died a few years back, I can’t just pick up the phone and call her for a rundown on the town happenings. Oh, that’s not to say that I’m totally out of the loop. There are a couple of hometown folks of the feminine gender, one of whom bills herself as the Rona Barrett of Martin County. I am amazed at the amount of information that she is able to amass and even more amazing is that she is able to do all of this without any formal training. I should add the caveat that I’m not implying only members of the fairer sex are gossips. I suppose it’s just that I haven’t yet met any of the male version.
The second reason for going is the food. Although Loogootee is not on the official Indiana fried chicken trail, it’s close. I knew there would be fried chicken on the buffet that evening. Of course, that was not a motivating factor. I’ve been advised that my fried chicken days are over so I planned to just put a little dab of salad on my 3 partition plate.
The real purpose for going, however, was that I knew 3 ladies from the featured class would be there. Had it not been for their enrolling at the IU dental Assisting school in Indianapolis in the fall of 1962, I might have still been a bachelor. Susie was also an enrollee at IU and almost 50 years ago, one of them invited her to her home in Loogootee for a weekend. The 3 of them planned to introduce Susie to Jasper, Indiana’s dance halls as well as any young men who might be there. Well, as luck would have it, I also was going to the dance hall that evening. Sometime shortly after that, my mother quit worrying about whether or not I’d ever settle down.
After some debate, we made the 100 mile trip and as we drove through the countryside, I was astonished by the number of dead evergreen trees, victims of the drought. God willing we get some rain, next spring might be a good time to be in the landscaping business.
Both Susie and I were hungry when we arrived. I vowed to stay away from the chicken but nobody said anything about mashed potatoes. There’s something about a big slab of butter melting in a pan of real mashed potatoes sitting next to a huge serving bowl filled with gravy, especially when it’s Saturday and your cardiologist has the day off. When another batch of chicken and a new pan of what appeared to be half melted butter and half mashed potatoes was brought out just as I reached the head of the serving line, I took it as a sign from God that just this time, it would be okay if I loaded up two of the three partitions in the plate with mashed potatoes and one piece of chicken in the other.
After dinner, Rona made an appearance and we had a good visit. Although it was a slow news day, I still enjoyed the chance to sit down and talk with my friends about the good old days. All in all, it was a good evening. The chicken was a disappointment (maybe I’m just getting old and losing my taste for it) but I had some great mashed potatoes. I gathered a little news and had a chance to get away and forget about all the craziness to be found out there in this world we live in. We also visited with the dental assisting friends who were the catalyst for the 48 plus years that Susie and I have spent together and in all that time, I never got around to acknowledging the young lady who invited Susie to come to Loogootee back in early 1963.
Thanks, Mary Ann.