Notes From The Cactus Patch

Tall tales from Texas about characters I know and have known. Who knows, you might be one of them.

A Ride in A Time Machine


I attended my 50 year high school reunion on Saturday, October 19th. It was held in Plano Texas, the small town where I lived when I graduated a “Plano Wildcat” in 1969. Fifty years on, a town is bound to grow, but Plano has exceeded any of our expectations. Its now a part of Dallas, and that’s not a good thing for our formally small village.

I sent my money to the committee a bit late. Less than thrity days away, I was still unsure if we should attend. Trepidation is one of my worse faults and more often than not these days, it wins more than loses.

My wife, also knowing many of my classmates, urged me to go, or should I say pushed me to attend. She knows me better than myself and what will be good for my soul. She reminded me that I have recently completed cancer treatments and who knows if it will return and then I will have missed this chance. We don’t get many second chances at my age. So, reluctantly, I agreed to strongly consider.

One night, up late, while watching an old black and white melancholy laced movie that reminded me of my childhood, I made the decision to go. My heartstrings were in the right place at the right time, and I just went with it. Trepidation raised its ugly head a few more times in the weeks before, but I fought valiantly and won that battle.

Sitting in the parking lot waiting to enter the venue, once again, I panicked. What if an old friend now looks like the Elephant Man, am I suppose to say “you look great?” What if I don’t remember these people and they don’t remember me? I was to the point of chest pains, but kept that too myself. My wife is a cardiac nurse and I didn’t want her thumping my chest before we entered.

All the doubt and anxiety dissolved the moment we walked through the entry door. I didn’t need name tags to remember names or faces. I assume that during those fifty years, my brain had developed some CGI ability to project how we would look as old folks. There were handshakes, hugs, laughter and reminiscing. The high school antics and experiences were revisited and fondly remembered. There was more laughter than I have heard in years. Prizes, speeches, zingers, they were all thrown about with abandoned.

The ” Memorial” table was the clencher. The pictures of my fallen classmates, forever that age, now gone. Some died early on, some recently, but they were not with us, and that sadden me. Facing mortality is a bitch.

As the class was mounting the stage for the reunion picture, my old friend Jarry fell backward hitting the concrete on his back and taking a hard knock to the head. The jovial mood ceased, and lthough he insisted he was alright, he wasn’t, and 911 was summoned and Jarry was taken away to the hospital for testing. I believe at that moment, the group of us realized that we are not eighteen anymore. We are senior citizens and fragile in this world of hurry up.

God speed to my old classmates, and be careful. I hope to see you again in ten years.

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6 thoughts on “A Ride in A Time Machine

  1. jpgp5908aolcom on said:

    Oh mannn…tell me the Jarry part was a “literary license ” taken . A lot of us remember going to the big five-Oh reunion except for the ending.

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    • No license was taken, he really did fall backward off the stage. Maureen, the ever-present nurse took care of him before the paramedics arrived. He is doing better and will recover. It was quite a night. Im glad you liked the story, and this one is true.

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  2. Lee Cox on said:

    Phil (John): What an excellent piece that you wrote!! Thank you for sharing. I am glad that your inhibitions did not prevent you from attending the reunion. Everyone enjoyed seeing you. And, looking around the room, I believe that everyone at the reunion enjoyed visiting with their fellow classmates. Please keep us all posted on Jarry. Again, it was great seeing Maureen and you. Take care. Lee Cox

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  3. Randy Duncan on said:

    Great story Phil. It was a terrific weekend. I’m very nostalgic, so I loved and looked forward to seeing everybody. Next time we do this, we will be 70 something. Maybe we should all come to Granbury.

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  4. I was leery also. Usually DeWayne would go with me, but the event happened on his wedding anniversary and he opted to spend that day with his wife. Anyway, walking in alone was nerve wracking, but, just as you did, that anxiety fell off me like a veil and there was Barbara B, Margaret S, Steve G, Lee C and others, all ready for hugs and huge smiles.
    My adrenaline rush was through the roof and I knew right away that I had to visit each and every person there. Since I was a bit late, everyone had already begun eating, so I had a captive audience. I began at one table, and went all around the room. And I loved every minute of it!
    Yes, the memorial was a bit sad. And Jarry falling off the stage was heartbreaking. But so thankful that Jarry did not have the head injury we were so afraid of.
    So, we look forward to our next reunion with anticipation!

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    • It was good to see you at the reunion. It sounds like it was a good one for you also. Craig said they are considering a 55 year but it may be at a restaurant in Plano. Jarry is doing better and joking around on FB. Thanks for following my blog and keep in touch.

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