First, for the people who don't really know me well, I grew up in a very small town. The population when I was in high school was right around 450 I believe. My class had 37 students (give or take one). And for the most part, I had the same friends for 13 years. We spent our entire childhoods and well into our teen years together. And for someone who grew up in a bigger city, there's just no way to really explain the kind of bond you form in this close community. And I can honestly say that over the past 10 years, I had somewhat forgotten it. And I can also assure you that after the weekend of fun, trips down memory lane, and reconnecting with my long lost friends, I sit here and think about how much I miss it.
Yes, I have a family now that I love and I wouldn't trade for the world. I have friends now that I wouldn't trade for the world. Please don't get me wrong, I love my life. But it hit me like a ton of bricks today just how much I missed my old friends. And how much, no matter how many reunions we have, it will never be the same as it was. I always had, shall we say, some turbulence in my home life. So school was really an escape for me. My friends were my safe spot. I knew they'd always be there for me. I felt that spirit again over the weekend.
Callie, Tanner, and I got into town on Thursday afternoon. We hung out with family and then my friend Chanda brought her adorable kids out to the farm and we showed them the horses, the "big trucks," and the house that I grew up in. The house that Chanda, and many other friends, visited throughout our childhood. I could see the memories were flashing through her eyes the minute she walked in the door. It was a nice night and a great way to catch up with her before all of the craziness of the weekend began!
Friday night was the "Class of 2001" Reunion. We shared lots of laughs, lots of drinks, lots of shuffle board and beer ponging. I would say that about half or more of the class came. And it's funny, even though it's been 10 years since I have spoken to some of these people, it's like we just picked up where we left off. I expected some awkward silence moments, some meaningless small talk, and blank, cold, "why am I here" stares, but I didn't encounter any of these things. Or maybe in my perfect little bubble I just didn't notice. But I felt like everyone was truly happy to be there and had a lot of fun.
|My friend, Chanda, and I at the reunion|
Saturday night was the big street dance. I think that I got too excited for it, and built it up in my head because when I got there, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't as fun as I had imagined. We went to all of the bars in Homer (that's 2) and it was kind of fun to see the familiar faces. I wish I had the guts to carry my year book around with me that night so I could remember some names. That would scream "uncool" more than going to the bar in your mom car complete with car seats. Guilty. So some of our class skipped the street dance altogether and had a bonfire at Dustin's dad's house. Well, actually it was at his cabin. Which, in true country style, was at the top of a bumpy hill, accessed only by pickup truck. I didn't see a road, or Dustin just didn't take it (either would be believable). It'd been quite a while since I had been off roading in a pick up truck. I was a little bit scared, I'm not going to lie. Of course we hit a skunk, or was it a mink, or both, we will never know. Andrea, Dustin's girlfriend, maintains it was a skunk and just for the record, judging my the smell, I'm with her. So we had a great bonfire, just like we used to do in high school. But this time we weren't trespassing or breaking any laws. But it was still just as fun.
Sunday was the day to come back to Omaha. And I am very happy to be home. But I do already miss my friends. I wonder if it will be another 10 years before we all get together again. I hope not. Almost all of the people I graduated with left some sort of mark on my life, and I treasure the memories that I have with them. And I really hope there are many, many more to come.