Posts Tagged ‘Class of 1995

02
Jun
08

Of Longhorns and Wildcats…

Wildcats

It was 6:30 PM, Friday, May 30th. At River Road High School, alumni from the last thirty years were converging on the new school building–open only a few months–to catch up on the latest news and reflect on the good times with old friends, many of which had gone unseen for a decade or more.

It was called “Old School Meets New School,” and I had been looking forward to attending for the last several months. Since my graduation in May of 1995, I had visited my alma mater just once, for a football game during my Freshman year of college. I’m not sure who won. I’m not sure I cared then.

Like most teenagers, the real joys of high school were lost on me. My own obsession with how others might perceive me kept me from ever actually seeing any of them, aside from a few bosom friends and several tired cliches.

I was very enthusiastic about the idea of a 10-year class reunion back in 2005. For some reason though, it never materialized beyond a mail out that I received asking for a preferred date for said event. I dutifully returned it, and waited in vain for the next several weeks for further news. I chalked it up at the time to lack of enthusiasm on the part of my former classmates. It’s always easier to blame an amorphous group than it is to single out an individual.

But THIS was going to be different! Thanks to the marvels of (cough, gag) MySpace, I had been in contact with no fewer than 7 or 8 old friends who assured me that they would be there. So I told them I would be, too.

LonghornsSo at 6:30 I found myself, roughly 100 miles away, driving madly to the graduation of the Lockney High School Class of 2008.

I spent the next hour and a half in a sweaty, stuffy, criminally-overcrowded gymnasium, struggling not to pass out from heat exhaustion or special music.

Around 8:30, when my old friends were meeting up at a ritzy Amarillo dance hall for a late dinner and more fun, I was standing in the road at the corner of 4th and Poplar Streets, madly dashing toward the few remaining red gowns lost in a sea of noise, sweat, love, and melancholy. A handshake here, a hug there, a laugh or two, and those ever-present, insufficient words: “Congratulations. Well done. I’m proud of you.”

So much more I want to say. So many other things I wish I had expressed during the countless moments of classroom monotony. So many missed opportunities.

At 9:00, I pull my tired Mitsubishi out of the teeming cloud of Lockney, Texas. And I wonder how many of these wonderful kids I will ever see again. How many will succeed in their grand visions. How many will face tragedy, heartbreak, suffering, or will fall prey to the small town animal which they all pledged time and time again to unleash and escape.

So, am I sorry that I missed my reunion? Yeah. Of course.

But by God, I don’t know if I could have lived with myself if I hadn’t said goodbye and godspeed to those young men and women in red on that night.

Go Horns. With all my blessings, and with all my heart.

Cats… our time will come.

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The random musings of a 30-something, West Texas high-school science teacher. Hoo-RAY.
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