Really Good Is Better Than Best

    June14/ 2015

    I hope each one of you had a wonderful weekend, I certainly did. I am on such a post good time high that I even hope “Dickie” and Jan Boxill had wonderful weekends…. Whoa!

    To explain today’s cryptic title, I hope all of us had REALLY GOOD weekends. I don’t need for mine to have been “better” or “the Best” compared to yours.  The endless pursuit of personal superiority over our fellows is at the heart of our society’s insatiable pursuit of self-destruction.

    Whether debating football stadiums, barbeque, Bond girls, ball teams, or quotes from The Godfather…. being REALLY GOOD is quite sufficient…. at least for me.

    Before I launch into the specifics…. if you grew up in New Bern, Hickory, Valdosta, Owensboro, Cape Girardeau, Aiken, Casper, Kinston, Waynesboro, Kingsport or any place “like those”…. and you are old enough to recall the name of The Cartwrights’ ranch, you should find some tangential connection to today’s comments. Otherwise you can go back to standing vigil waiting for UNC’s response to the NCAA NOA; or for Roy’s memory to reboot. Good luck with that Roy memory thing.

    As noted last week, this weekend was the 50th Anniversary gathering of my high school class. Of roughly 250-ish of us, some 55-ish have moved on to their eternal post-life destiny. That leaves 200-ish of whom over 100-ish qualified as “people who want to attend a reunion”. The remaining 100-ish had various valid (!!) reasons for not wanting to do so.

    Without a doubt, the most creative “can’t come” was the guy who “had to be in Paris to interview Olivia DeHavilland”.

    I’m entering him in a national competition for “creative excuses for not coming back to a reunion”. I think he has a darn good chance to wOlivia_DeHavilland-2in that competition, don’t you? Really….. Olivia DeHavilland.

    I prefer my food well-seasoned. Likewise, I prefer my reunions well-seasoned with card-carrying colorful characters. Three or four/per 100 attendees will do if they agree to stay in character for the duration.  Regardless, someone needs to be at the ready with a crossbow w/ a tranquilizer dart.   The bulk of the attendees should be good salt-of-the-earth God-fearin’ Americans armed with the barest minimum smartphone pictures of grandchildren, pets or recent vacation highlights.  God in His wisdom invented Facebook, nor reunions, for such overt displays of personal pride.

    By one’s 50th, one has hopefully moved beyond (1) renting a fancy convertible or (2) hiring a “hot but not slutty” escort to pose as one’s wife/date.  Women hire swarthy Euro-trash guys with names like Raoul and Vincenzo who can tango.  Bet you thought no one knew about that, huh?

    On-site discussions of recent medical procedures should not exceed 30 seconds in length….. unless Jaime Pressley’s Uncle Tommy is describing the procedure in which case a 10-minute stand-up routine is expected because Uncle Tommy can make a school board fistfight sound funny. I can do that too but Tommy’s stagecraft is much better than mine.

    Our folks are wily veterans of reunion-planning having close to a dozen to their credit. They are so good at it that a US Guvmint military logistics expert’s assistance was not needed.

    FYI:  In that group picture above, all us cool BMOC-types are hidden up on the top rows except for Ed and Wayne over there on the right.

    Our crew has finally learned that a “Really Good Reunion” – (RGR) is defined as 2-4 loosely organized events over a 36 hour period each of which offers (1) standard buffet finger food….. (2) a cash bar…. (3) sufficient tables and chairs for informal conversational groupings and….. THAT’S IT. You can add (4) a comfortable climate controlled environment. Our RGR had all those essentials.

    The 8th Deadly Sin of Mankind is “we must have skits” and/or the use of an amplified microphone for any purpose other than “the driver of a gray Lexus crossover with a Virginia license plate, your lights are on and your doors are locked.” Live microphone usage is Reunion Russian Roulette – (RRR).

    Our Really Good Reunion did, of course, like yours, play Reunion Russian Roulette.   No one was injured or driven to Ferguson-esque mob violence by the “live mic / skits” Saturday night.   I was in the backroom bar grilling an environmental lawyer from New Bern whether the bear above the New Bern fire station is actually named “Kennel”. It is.

    Enjoying a reunion, as with most elements in one’s life, is each attendee’s personal responsibility.   The organizing committee can only provide the opportunity.  Seizing it is up to you, me, us.   Our folks seem to have learned that over the years.

    With 1-2 exceptions, everyone I really wanted to see was there. These several dozen old acquaintances accept me for who I am, or do a great job of pretending to, which is really all that matters.lonesome_dove-1

    The 50th is the jumping-off point for most reunions. Between The Grim Reaper and joint replacements, anything beyond The 50th is playing with house money. To quote Texas Ranger Capt. Gus McCrae to his BFF Capt. Woodrow Call: “It’s been a helluva party Woodrow.”

    To the best of my knowledge, no one “got drunk” or pretended to “got drunk”. I never understood why anyone would do either especially pretend to “got drunk”. ??

    I’m willing for your reunions to have been “better” or, if you insist, “the Best”. Mine have all been Really Good and this one was REALLY Really Good. I’m just fine with that.  100 or so classmates plus spouses will agree with me.

    You DO know that there is a special place in God’s Heaven for spouses who attend their spouses’ reunions.  A very special place indeed.

    ….. oh, did I mention “Ruth” whose life journey has led her from Eastern NC to Casper Wyoming where she actually knows C.J. Box. C.J. Box is, of course, my Alltime Alltime Favorite Fiction Author. To know “a friend of C.J. “ is almost “knowing Nate Romonowski – The Master Falconer” who is the best stone-cold spec ops killer one could ever have as a BFF. …… Olivia DeHavilland? Really???

    ….. oh, did I mention the couple that “reportedly” arrived by helicopter landing on the country club’s 18th green….. serenaded off the chopper by two kilted bag pipers playing Danny Boy? OK, that one is a “reportedly” !!!   Even Jaime’s Uncle Tommy will be hard-pressed to exaggerate that one in the retelling.

    That whooosing sound you hear is all the breath exhalings of people who were afraid I was going to mention them specifically by name in the above narrative. “Mention them” in some fashion that they would perceive as unpraise-worthy.

    Now they will all be pissed that they were NOT featured. The plight of a Reunion Historian is a lonely one.


    • paintcan Reply
      4 years ago

      Reply to your “murder Victim” comment below:

      We have the murderer. His wife. Tried/convicted/sentenced on 2nd degree murder to something like 35 to life.He never opened his mouth after his arrest. After 17 years he was released with what seemed minimal parole follow up/which is over. His wife remains dead.

      Murderer attended our last two reunions.Some did “you did your time welcome” first time. Not me.Last I heard his wife is still dead.

      Much chillier reception this go around.

      I still like beach idea just not with this guy !

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Every murderer and his victims was in someone’s school class somewhere. Someone sat behind Charles Manson in 9th English class …..

    • Wolfpack00 Reply
      4 years ago

      So where does the goober who graduated from Myrtle Beach High School want the next reunion?

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        At a VFW hut in Florence.

    • Ethan Reply
      4 years ago

      Long time reader – first time responder…. Damn BL – You nailed it!  I’m in Upstate SC outside Greenville/Spartanburg.  Our “lets have the next one at da beach” goober was “Frank”. 



      Every freakin’ five years he brought it up despite everyone else being very satisfied with the various local venues.  Thankfully cooler heads always prevailed, kept it local and “Frank”, as you note, eventually “got pissed, pouted and never came back”.  The “sounds just like ours” is VERY comforting indeed.

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        There has to be a Patient Zero in every scenario. I wonder who THE FIRST “lets have the next one at da beach” reunion goober was. There oughta be a “At Da Beach” Goobers Anonymous organization for all those guys to get together and pout. KEEP IT SIMPLE …. DO NOT OVER-ORGANIZE !!! If there HAS to be an obnoxiously loud beach music band, be sure there are acoustically insulated alternative gathering areas for the 90% who “just want to talk to one another”.

    • paintcan Reply
      4 years ago

      Your 50th and mine 5 years ago sound very similar.Right down to the body count ! Of 243 we’ve lost 55. Did #55 2 weeks ago. It was OK but the spark of the 50th was better.Maybe because the planners left off Friday night party at the old jail. Despite my motion for a gathering at the beach 5 years hence ,the vote was in favor of the same thing at Irish Creek CC ,again. I did get to name it – Class of ’60’s 60th. Catchy huh ?

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Nooooo, not the “lets have the next one at da beach” gambit. EVERY reunion planning committee East of The Mississippi wrestles with that one. It is a direct violation of the “Keep it Simple and don’t Over-organize” credo. Usually the same goober brings it up every five years…. gets voted down (thankfully) and he gets pissed, pouts and never shows up again.

        …. The “who died since the last time” stats evolve over the decades. Viet Nam and traffic accidents dominate the early reunions gradually giving way to, alas, cancer and such. We had a highly publicized murder victim in our class. THAT really sent a chill thru the gathering. Saturday AM we had a lively debate over whether “Ben” was Dead or Alive. It was finally decided he was Alive but no one produced solid evidence.

        …. I find “yours sounds a lot like ours” very comforting and a unifier within our culture. 🙂

    • NCSU68Grad Reply
      4 years ago

      Ah, yes…..did mine in 2013.  Quite a crew.  We only graduated 48….near Hickory.  It was, then, like comparing Apex to Raleigh.

      Interesting what folks did back in HS.  My wife says we were the inspiration for Grease and we probably did do our share of “pranks”….like the FB Coach’s Corvair in the quad.  Carried it up the steps and the dadgummed wheels folded in.  Had to hold it until we got reinforcements to bend them out to sit it down.  Almost made mortar cannon with an air compressor and lobed 2# bags of Red Band flower into our teacher’s years over Halloween.

      The crowd was probably about like yours.  Some surviving and working at Wally World and the ABC store.  Others retired early when they were RIF’ed.  Some retired early to change lifestyle (I became a Nanny).

      Interesting mix of folks.  No Doctors….Only one Lawyer; one Engineer and two Ex Corporate Execs.  Internet gives a LOT of info about what folks own and their “pass times”.  All have a story and some experiences….

      Glad you enjoyed it….I certainly did enjoy mine.  But as old Tommy Wolf (not of NCSU Fame) said….”You can’t go home….”, but a visit once in a while is nice.


      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Each of us are a composite of all the paths we have trod. Our group stopped comparing bank accounts and waistlines several reunions ago. Now we just laugh a lot and talk about whoever chose not to attend. 🙂

    • Doug Reply
      4 years ago

      Certainly glad there was climate control. I passed through K-Town yesterday and the heat and humidity was somewhere between sauna and a tent preacher’s armpits.

      Jaime’s uncle really does possess great stagecraft. Luckily he’s married to one of my classmates so I get to witness his repertoire from time to time at our reunions and at some other times, some happy, some sad. He can also fling a few one-liners.

      Better to arrive by chopper at one’s reunion than to depart by one I suppose.


      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        TP is an Official piece o’work for sure. Mrs TP stands by and rolls her eyes when he gets on a roll.

        The Temp on Queen Street hit 100 yesterday. KCC was cool and cozy.

    • DannyBoy Reply
      4 years ago

      BL, you are the Forrest Gump of “being there” when otherwise mundane events become memorable.  …. “helicopter landed on the 18 green…..”   Were the two bagpipers named Raoul and Vincenzo?

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        Bagpipers tend to guard their identities…. not unlike “lonely buglers playing taps in the morning mist”. That said, a bagpiper named Raoul would be unusual.

    • 58wolf kennel Reply
      4 years ago

      BL, enjoyed the reunion insights (just double them for New Bern’s 60th this past year). Lot of Carolina fans (and former Carolina fans) in New Bern :+)). Some people can’t tell a bear from a wolf. Both are heroic !!

      Had written two more extensive comments on the plethora of TGU stories over past week but they got lost with the Ooompa Loompa’s. Got a new Droid and the old one may have been protesting in anticipation :+)).

      • BobLee Reply
        4 years ago

        The NB enviro-lawyer describes you as “a paragon” to his era of Bears in the early 60s. You were the “strive to be like _____” model used by the academic staff at NBHS. He appeared sober while saying all that.

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