The day was filled with excitement because my family and I were leaving after school to go on a weekend trip with a few of my classmates from high school. We had rented a huge house and were going to spend the next three days catching up with each other. It had been snowing here most of the day so school was released early. We hurriedly finished packing and finally hit the snow covered roads headed for the mountains three hours away. A few of my classmates had already arrived at the cabin and reported no problems on the roads, so we kept our focus on getting there as quickly and safely as possible.
The roads began looking worse the farther from home we got. It was late afternoon and we felt sure that if we made it by dark we would be okay. My son and his girlfriend we’re following us in his car. It is his first real experience on the interstate and his first time driving in snow. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck. About half way into our trip I started to feel sorta queasy. I assume that it is nerves and car sickness and manage to keep my nausea at bay until we stop for a bathroom break. As we are about to pull back out into the roadway a sudden surge of nausea hits and I lose both my battle and lunch in the blink of an eye. It is now that I start to question whether I could possibly be suffering from more than car sickness and nerves but we have come to far to turn back now. We are closer to the cabin than we are to home and it is beginning to get dark.
Back on the highway we drive slowly making our way to our destination. We turn off the main road onto a very narrow country road filled with hills and curves.. Cars are sliding off the roadway. So far we are fine and haven’t had any trouble. We were within a couple of miles of our destination. This is the point that my “friends” decide to tell us that we will not be able to get to the house. The drive is icy and dangerous. They tell us to stop at a convenience store about a mile from the cabin.
I have managed to keep from throwing up since our last stop but as the gravity of our current situation sinks in, my nausea comes back with a vengeance. My husband buys me some zip lock baggies and I begin to fill them up. One mile separates us from a nice cozy cabin filled with old friends. We can’t walk the rest of the way in the dark pushing our disabled son in his wheelchair. What are we going to do?
Fall is here and it brought along with it memories of years gone by. Years of running and playing with T underneath trees adorned in beautiful jewel colored dresses. Soft breezes nipping at our noses causing them to turn red and become as cold as ice. The absence of summer’s birdsongs make it almost too eerie to stay outside but we have hide and seek to keep us busy. I am content to be outside until darkness begins to close in around us because I have the king of the hill by my side.
The memory of another fall day comes into focus. I see a tow-haired boy about two years old running through a pile of leaves. His giggles rising above the sound of an approaching train. He is dressed in red overalls and a white turtle neck. His speech is filled with the sounds of y as he excitedly tells me to, “do it yike dis.” Suddenly he is transformed into a cowboy and takes off “yiding a buwll” with his arm flailing wildly as his head nods back and forth bucking to the rhythm of the imaginary bull. Slowly the sun begins to set and my heart starts to break as we have to let this day end.
Memories of hayrides with fellow homeschoolers push themselves the the center of my attention. Bowls of warm spicy chili lend us their heat as they fill our stomachs. The sounds of children laughing float down to parent’s ears as the adventurous children climb higher into the rafters of the barn over mounds of fresh bails of hay. Sweet songs and giggles dance into the night as a tractor pulls a wagon loaded with families nestled in sweet fresh hay. All too soon this day is over and reluctant children are shooed toward cars and home.
Six years ago we started hosting a Halloween party in our home. We have several special families that have come to our home year after year to celebrate fall with us. A traditional supper of chili and hot dogs is served before we all set out in my neighborhood for a fun night of trick-or-treating. There are special memories being made for adults as well as children. Each year is a little different as one by one our children grow too old to dress up and participate in the ritual of going from house to house gathering candy. This year our kids sat in the floor, sorted their candy, and began trading with each other. I sat and soaked in their energetic giggles and silly comments, knowing that there will never be another Halloween quite like this one.
The last memory comes into my mind in a rush. It is a cool fall evening after dark. Children begin to explore a haunted forest filled with witches and monsters and their screams fill the night. They play hide and seek until one by one parents arrive to retrieve them. This will be the last Halloween of their childhood. The next time Halloween will hold the same excitement will be years in the future when they take their own children trick or treating.
Life has a way of slipping by you if you’re not careful. I find that it’s the little spontaneous moments that keep returning to my mind. As I go through life I pray that I don’t forget to stop and enjoy the simple pleasures a day can bring. They are always there waiting for us to seek them out, if only we will try. Ready or not, here I come!
I will always remember the day he walked into my life. I was sitting in the basement classroom of a dilapidated school in my rural community. The smell of dirt and tempera paint filled the air. I sat at a crudely built table in the corner of the room facing the door; an empty chair at my right side.
The door opened and there he was. Sweet, innocent, vulnerable. I was immediately bewitched by that little dark haired boy. It didn’t hurt matters that he was the mysterious “new boy” and was perfectly gorgeous to boot. Those may have been a small part of my fascination with him but there was so much more to it than mere attraction.
I was immediately overwhelmed with fear and excitement when he chose the chair next to me. It may have been the only empty seat in the room. I really don’t remember if he chose to sit there or if he sat there because it was his only choice. The thing I do know is God forever changed my life that day when he sent that precious boy into my life.
We became friends. We even “went” together for a short time. We were both extremely shy and unsure of ourselves and at twelve years old our relationship was sweet and innocent. He sang a love song in a musical group and every time he sang it I hoped and imagined he was singing it to me. Our romantic connection didn’t last long but our friendship blossomed during high school. He was my homeroom buddy and there was always something that seemed to draw me to him. He held a special place in my heart that I couldn’t understand and was too afraid to express.
After graduating from high school life carried us in different directions causing us to loose touch but he was never far from my mind. I often found myself wondering what happened to that sweet brown eyed boy. He was such a special person to me and I hoped and dreamed that he found happiness in life.
It took twenty-five years for me to find my friend again. My friend grew into a big, strong, intelligent, successful man. He married a woman who is beautiful from the inside out. She is perfectly suited for him. They are wonderful friends that bless me beyond words. I am so thankful that God has brought him back into my life and the added addition of his lovely wife is a wonderful bonus.
When I look at him I still see that sweet, innocent, vulnerable little boy from the past. I will probably never know what the other 30 people sitting in that basement classroom thought the first time they saw him or how he impacted their lives. I really don’t understand how I was able to immediately know it, but from the moment my eyes fell on him I knew he was no ordinary boy.
Twas 18 days before Christmas of 2010 and Ande was thinking of all her old friends. The Callahan’s were actively trimming their trees with decorations piled up as high as their knees. The Hamilton’s house was all lighted and trimmed and Drew dreamed that presents filled their home to the brim. The Shaver’s were happily settling in new routines with all of them fitting into much smaller jeans! The Allen family made a trip to a Christmas tree farm where Bryant cut down a tree without getting harmed. The Norton’s were busy with Trey and Sweet G, hoping to get a photo of them together upon Santa’s knee. The Langhams were ready for Santa’s appearance cause Annette loaded her buggy with items on clearance. The Tutor girls outnumbered Vergil by three and you know they don’t give diamonds out FREE. Everyone was busy with their comings and goings but dreaming of cabins where it was snowing. The hot tub is waiting and the loofas are ready Will it hurry up and be February already!!
Today J and I did some much needed orgainizing in the garage. It is amazing how much junk can accumulate in such a short time. We have had more yard sales in the past 4 years than we have in our 26 years of marriage so I don’t understand why we have more stuff now than ever.
As usual when organizing and cleaning we found a few treasures from the past mixed in with all the junk. Most people (probably including my husband) would say, “why do you think that is a treasure?” Well, I really can’t tell you why other than the fact that I am a sentimental fool who loves to look back at things past.
The best treasure we found was a box marked with my name on it. We opened it and found it was filled with a menagerie of items from my childhood. There was a dress my mother made me for the bi-centenial celebration in 1976, a tiny jersey from my career in softball, a book given to me by a friend of my grandmother, some old photos, birthday cards, valentines from who knows what grade, my cap and diploma from my high school graduation, and some old pictures and letters from my school days.
The letters turned out to be a real hoot for me. I found letters written by my little sister which described her feelings for me. I don’t know what I had done to that girl but she was obviously pretty upset with me. I found a letter from a best friend from junior high inviting me to spend the night at her house the next weekend. The box also contained lots of letters from a pen pal that I wrote to for several years. There were several letters from a girl I am sure was trying to pry information from me because we liked the same boy. I also found a few sweet notes from admirers proclaiming their love for me. Those notes were so sweet. The boys really put their hearts on the line and it pains me that I can’t remember how I handled those situations. They were sweet innocent letters from adolescent boys who braved the courage to tell a girl how they felt. I hope I was kind and considerate of their feelings when I responded to them but I am so afraid that in my shyness I probably handled it all wrong.
When I think of times from my past when someone reached out to me I find myself wishing that I could go back in time. If I could I would go back and relive lots of moments when my shyness gave others the impression that I was a snob or that I was making light of their feelings. It is amazing how much perspective time can provide. Reading those letters today made me realize how often I was misunderstood and how often I most likely misunderstood those around me. For that I am truly sorry. That little box held a lot of lessons for me and gave me more than a few laughs. Boy, did I need that today!!
Yesterday I attended my 25th Class Reunion. It is hard to believe that it has been that long since I graduated and officially began my trek out into the world. I have been looking forward to last night for months now. I have connected with friends that I haven’t seen or heard from in years. I owe all of this to one of my classmates. Annette is an amazing organizer and managed to find almost all of the members of our class.
As J and I drove to the site of the reunion I realized that I had butterflies in my stomach. This is something that happened to me all the time when I was younger but never happens anymore. All my butterflies disappeared shortly after we arrived at our destination. There were already several classmates that I recognized standing inside when I walked in which calmed my nerves tremendously.
The night brought with it many enjoyable moments. We were able to share old memories from high school and make new memories that will be the topic of conversations at future reunions. The jello shots will definitely be a memory some will not soon forget. The band was great and the dancing was entertainment not only for those who danced but to those who chose to watch. There were, as in high school, the wallflowers who chose to be observers and the rebels who let it all hang out and shake their booties.
It is funny how you can immediately connect with someone you haven’t seen or talked to for 25 years. Time has changed our looks (some more than others), we have matured and moved into middle age, and we have each lived separate and very different lives; but once we were together it was as if time had stood still and once again we were the best of friends. It is sad how life takes people in different directions. Sometimes our best friends end up being far away and we simply loose touch. I am thankful that my classmates and I share a common bond of love and friendship. Our class seems to have a special bond that not every class has and I am proud to say that I am a Graduate of the Chattooga High School Class of 1984.