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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jun 17, 2010

It was 45 years ago that I graduated from high school. I live 10 miles from where I went to school all those years ago. Therefore, I have appointed myself the organizer for our class reunion to be held this August.

Class reunions are amazing events. I do not believe my class is any different than most classes. We have people who have attended every reunion, some of them coming from long distances. We have others who have not made it to a reunion and they live within driving distance.

I am grateful to be close enough to my high school that the distance is not a problem because I would hate to miss a class reunion. My wife is a four-hour drive from her high school and I will make sure that we get to any reunions her class has.

My loyalty to my high school graduating class is because, after my own family, these are the people I have spent much of my life with. Some of these people I met on the first day of kindergarten and then saw almost everyday for the next 12 years.

There were a few classmates that after being with them Monday through Friday I would see them at Sunday school and church. We would see each other six days a week during those years when various adults were trying to prepare us for the rest of our lives.

There is a lot of shared history with my classmates even after that graduation night 45 years ago. Many went on to college. Some were drafted or enlisted in the military. We chose careers and spouses that, as the years went by, may or may not have worked out. We raised our children.

Here we are after all these years and life is still handing us the next challenge. It is not over yet.

Many of us have had to bury our parents as we became the senior family member. Sadly, we have had to attend funerals of our friends and classmates. Most tragically, a few have had to bury their own children or their spouses.

So every few years we get together so we can see who shows up. For a few hours, we can relive the past and catch up on what has happened since the last time we met. There are some surprises as who has accomplished what since graduation night.

Some people bloomed early and kept on going, accomplishing successful lives. Some were late bloomers and, after a few attempts, were able to hit their stride. There are a few that may not have bloomed yet, but we hope they make it while they have time and health.

Which one am I? I do not know. I will leave that up to the people around me, but they probably will not all agree either. I am just grateful to have made it this far and know I am not done yet.

If you have a class reunion in the future and are wondering about going, by all means if there is any way possible, go. There are people who want to see you. When they ask, ”How’s it going?” it is not a polite greeting, the chances are they really want to know.

These are the people who will understand the joys and disappointments that we all have experienced. Then at the end of the evening, we will return to our homes and say to ourselves, ”After all these years, those people have not changed one bit.”

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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