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Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Reunion

While those around me told tales, large and small, I remained mute. Intimidation played no small part in my silence.

We gathered last evening for our 40th high school reunion. While life has moved us in many directions, to many in this room, we remain defined by what we had been then.

So, it was decided that during the course of the evening, we would gather our chairs together. Each would have the opportunity to inform, amuse, recount or recall. Unlike most of our classes, we would not be called upon randomly but would only speak out of choice.

I had shown little of the intellectual curiosity that so many of my classmates had demonstrated during our years together. They were poets, musicians, scholars and searchers of the truth. I was concerned little of these things. Rather, to them, and in my own eyes, I was a jock.

I ran through my contemplated words, over and over, as others told their tales. I would speak of my intellectual awakening, of my love of writing. I would let them know that this school, despite my worst intentions, had readied me to do something in which I found a passion, and which some seemed to enjoy and validate.

But I feared that this would sound egocentric, and ring false. I did not see myself, nor did I believe that those around me, would see me as anything other than the one whom the teacher passed over to respond in French class because he was ill equipped to perform. I was the one who did not work as hard, did not test as well, did not warrant intellectual recognition.

I did not want to talk about my failing golf game, or the demise of the Yankees. At least not tonight.

As the minutes passed, my resolve ebbed and flowed. At certain moments I made a decision that I would be the next to speak. Yet, when it came time, I could not summon up the courage.

When the last words were done, it was announced that dessert was the next order of business. Chairs were put back in place, and the evening moved to its inevitable conclusion.

Before I left, I struck up a conversation with one who I had not seen since the end of my high school years. He had spoken of living in Vermont and teaching music, and how rewarding it had been to shape the lives of the children. He then asked the question that I feared so many were thinking when they looked in my direction. "Are you still playing golf"?

6 comments:

HARRYETTE said...

Dear Robert,In my mind you are not defined by your golf game.How could those who have not seen you in so many years know the essence of the man you have become?
A short list:
Wonderful husband to my daughter
Unbelievable father
Utterly devoted son
Loving brother
Caring friend to so many
Still a pretty good golfter
Best possible son-in-law

With love,

Robert said...

I am deeply moved by your words.

thank you so much

Nancy said...

Harryette, you made me cry! You are a perfect mother in law but, in fact, you have very good material to work with.

Robert said...

I think we have an official love fest.

Nancy- thanks for responding to the very touching comments from Harryette

Elizabeth said...

Robert

You have the hallmarks of a real writer; you are honest and brave.

Librarian Liz

Robert said...

Wow! That is an unbelievably generous thought.