August 2nd, 2009 11:32 PM
Attending a high-school reunion, bangers, National Park regs
About 2 weeks ago, I was informed my class was having a high-school reunion this weekend. Not enough advance warning to get trim and handsome, but thought I'd go anyway.
10-year reunion: I didn't go. Not only was I flat broke at the time with not enough money for gas to make it, but, uh, things might have turned out real violent if the right mix of people had shown. Thought it was better to just stay away.
20 or 25-year reunion: Didn't hear about it until after it was over. I don't think anyone was able to contact me.
This one: thought I'd give it a try, even though I had a couple serious concerns.
I was informed it'd be on a certain river. I researched it and found this river is part of the National Parks area , meaning it will be legal to carry there next Spring.
The likelihood of some bangers being there was pretty high. Some still live in the area. Also, one of our classmate had married a banger. I was told she was getting a horrible beating by him one day, and she managed to grab a gun before he beat her to death. She smoked him, right then, right there. My good friend was in the house next door but didn't hear the shot because he had his music blaring too loud. No charges filed: self-defense all the way. She was definitely coming to the reunion.
A brother of the dead banger was also in our class. I expected him to show. He was one I never got along with, and I felt the possibility of trouble was pretty high. But I think I'd stayed away too long. Time to face the demons.
For some of you, the choice of whether to attend or not, or attend armed or not, would be easy. It wasn't an easy decision for me. Well, I'll rephrase: I knew what I had to do, but I was troubled by the possible consequences.
Lots of people showed, the violent bangers didn't, and we had a great time. Everyone said they wouldn't have recognized me which apparently is a nice way of saying, "Dang man, what happened to you? Time ain't been so good to ya, eh?"
Some people have changed a lot, some very little. One guy just discovered his young wife is pregnant again, so he gets to start over.
I knew there would be alcohol there, and possibly violence, so I didn't take any family members. I realize some of you wouldn't have attended an event with those possibilities, but as I said, I felt it was time to reconnect a bit. Besides, most of the statutes of limitations have run out.
I was offered alcohol several times. Declined.
I was offered a toke. Declined.
About halfway through the event, I discovered while the event was a stone's throw from the river, the grounds we were on were private property, so carrying weapons was totally legal.
My friend's Glock
Stayed overnight at a friend's house. He showed me his Glock 17 he uses for home protection. His wife told me about one night when he was gone, she heard someone outside their house at night. She put the kids in an inner bathroom and had them sleep in the tub. She stayed awake all night in the bathroom with the Glock in her hand, waiting for a break-in which fortunately never came.
The return trip
Mostly uneventful. Got up at 0-dark-thirty and slipped out to get on the road early, trying to get back to St. Louis in time to take my family to church. Made it.
At a gas station in Rolla, I noticed the guy in line in front of me had a .380 in his back pocket in a flat holster. Either a Keltec or a Ruger, with a good bit of it showing. Had I not been looking, I never would have noticed, but he wasn't doing a very good job of concealing. Didn't get a change to chat with him about guns because they left before I could finish paying.
A couple hungry Smokeys on the road east of Rolla, but thanks to some mercy and cruise control, no tickets. The car I was offered this time was a Dodge Charger. I say "car", but it could be more accurately described as a "guided missile on 4 wheels." Saweeeeet! Could also be described as a "speeding ticket on 4 wheels." Extremely powerful. Or, uh, so I have uh, heard.
So if we have another reunion, it'll be another chance to exorcise some more demons, depending on who shows. I was really worried about going. Almost posted about it beforehand, but decided it wouldn't be a good tactical move to post my concerns and the details.
Reunions can be dangerous sometimes, and not only from the guys.
Great times were had by all. No shots fired, no arrests, no tickets. Had some good conversations with several. It seems that of those who attended, most have grown up well, and most are making good decisions now.
Some paid high prices for their lifestyle decisions, and time was hard on some. One girl rides a Harley now, the one who offered me a toke, which coming from her, was a compliment. (I'm not stereotyping Harley riders as drug dealers--just describing her a bit.) She rode cross country to get there, staying overnight with old druggee friends along the way. She survived meth with less ravages than most. Another girl was passing a flask around. Noooo thanks.
Anyway, I feel fortunate in many ways: to be born an American, still live in freedom, able to travel at a moment's notice, still alive and healthy AFAIK... a good buddy who attended nearly died a few months ago from a massive blood clot, and not all have survived the years.
It was good. Some definite healing for me, and I hope for some others also. Maybe I shouldn't have stayed away for so long, but maybe by doing so there were less casualties.
I really needed that trip back home. City life sucks for me. Life is good, but city life sucks. For me, that is.
One of these days, maybe I'll make it back to the country...
August 3rd, 2009 12:35 AM
August 3rd, 2009 01:06 AM
Great story as always Grady. That first reunion you attend can really put you off balance, at least the first one I attended did.
I was in the class of '64, the first year of Baby Boomers. I too missed my 10 yr & 20 year reunions but when I came back (from NJ to Colo), for my 30th yr reunion, I discovered that my HS sweetheart had been divorced for 10 years. I too had been divorced for 10 yrs. (darn, if I had only known, I wouldn't have missed the 20th!). Needless to say, we spent that first night catching up on each other's lives since HS. The two of us drank beer & talked until the sun came up the next morning. We had to play golf the next afternoon & we were really dragging. After the reunion, we started long distance dating ( every month either she would fly from Colo to NJ or I would fly from NJ to Colo, just for a weekend). I moved back to Colo in 1995. We were married shortly after I returned. We're still going strong after 15 years together.
Out of 51 graduates, there are 8 couples from that class who are married to each other. And, as far as we know, everyone who graduated with our class is still alive! Although some of us have had close calls.
As for the rest of my classmates, we were all pretty close back in HS & we didn't change much. The biggest jerk in the class got up in front of all of us a & apologized for being "such a big jerk" way back when. He was a retired Chief Master Sergeant in the AF; somewhere along the way he obviously got straightened out.
A lot of us still live here in the same town in western Colo & we see each other often. When we do get together, we kid each other a lot but there isn't any BS because we all knew each other from way back when.
An armed populace are called citizens.
An unarmed populace are called subjects.
August 3rd, 2009 01:11 AM
It is good you went. Sometimes you take the risk.
Originally Posted by grady
While "home" has always been the suburbs, it was a lot more fields then empty shopping malls 30 years ago. Just hope what I've called the country (my grand father's farm) is still in the country when I get there.
Originally Posted by grady
S&W 642 (no-lock) with .38 Spl +P 135 GR Gold GDHP
Glock G31 & G33 with .357 Sig 125 GR. SXT Winchester Ranger
August 3rd, 2009 01:47 AM
Great story. Glad everything worked out. I decided not to attend my 10 year reunion. Just didnt feel the need to go back and alot of my friends were already dead. Everyone one ive ever talked to has always had a blast at there reunions. Now your here saying the same. Maybe i need to go to the 20 year and see what all the fuss is about. We will see.
August 3rd, 2009 02:05 AM
"Anyone worth shooting, is probably worth shooting several times."
August 3rd, 2009 04:23 AM
Great story as usual Grady...
"Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can't make it without Texas!".... Sam Houston
NRA Life Member
August 3rd, 2009 04:33 AM
I've missed my 10 and 20 year reunions and have no desire to make the 30 either.
The 25 is this year, and no, I'm not going. That part of my life is over and I've moved on. If I'm still around I may try to make the 50.
I'm glad you had a good reunion Grady, and that things went well for you. Take care and stay safe.
Last edited by BikerRN; August 3rd, 2009 at 04:39 AM.
August 3rd, 2009 05:59 AM
Glad to hear you went and everything turned out well. I haven't been to one since our 10th. 25 is coming up next year and I think I'm going. We had a class of almost 600 but there is a handful I'd like to see again. Should be interesting.
"In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power." -
-- Marcus Tullius Cicero
August 3rd, 2009 07:57 AM
Grady- good story.
I kept waiting to hear how you managed all the reunion hugs while CCing ten guns.
Turn the election's in 2014 to a "2A Revolution". It will serve as a 1994 refresher not to "infringe" on our Second Amendment. We know who they are now.........SEND 'EM HOME. Our success in this will be proportional to how hard we work to make it happen.
August 3rd, 2009 08:51 AM
Good story, Grady. Never been to a class reunion, never will. I had almost nothing in common with most in my class. I get together upon occasion with a couple of buddies from high school. I just never had any inclination to put on a fake smile and listen to BS from people I didn't like.
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups"
August 3rd, 2009 09:13 AM
Good story Grady.My 40th was last month and I had to miss it.
I wanted to go, but finances and time off from work wouldn't allow it. I made my 10 and 20 year reunions. Had a good time and enjoyed them. Funny how kids you had nothing in common with in school now share things in common with you.
August 3rd, 2009 09:53 AM
Nice story Grady and pretty much typical about reunions, ah, with the exception of being pinned down by gunfire from the "bangers". I never had that in my school, thank the Lord.
I have been to a 20 & 30 year reunion and not bragging, but most of them have said I don't look much different than when we were in school. Good genetics and taking care of myself. Was informed of a 35 year reunion, my class of '74 combined with the '73 crowd. I declined, too expensive for what is offered.
"A Smith & Wesson always beats 4 aces!"
The Man Prayer. "Im a man, I can change, if I have to.....I guess!" ~ Red Green
August 3rd, 2009 04:23 PM
Good story, and probably typical of such events.
I never got an invite for my 10th high school reunion. Never knew for sure if they even had one or not.
On the day of my class's 20th reunion, I got on a plane to Alaska to go caribou hunting.
Of the three guys I remember that I didn't get along with in high school, one was killed in a car wreck at Oracle and Prince in Tucson several years ago, another is/was finishing up 15 years for attempted murder, and the third, from what I understand, has some serious issues from being molested as a child, and still lived with his dad the last I heard.
I doubt they'd show up for a class reunion, but they'd remember me well enough if they did. No worries; I have friends at most levels in our society, so I usually hear about anything that might be of interest to me.
August 3rd, 2009 05:41 PM
Just missed my 30th it was the end of July. Did not go to 10th or
20th (10th too far away and broke 20th was dealing with too many deaths at the church I was pastoring as well as my mothers). I have seen pictures on facebook of the 30th and boy those people are old!! Still look the same in most case but OLD!! Me, I look just like I did in Highschool --- fat and ugly!! No, I have seen my Highschool graduation pictures; I to have become OLD; not bad though for a group of folks who will turn 50 in two years!!!!!!!
Grady, happy to hear you had a good time and avoided the temptations of your youth and the one to see just how fast that car would go (at least when LEOs were around!!!)
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