High school never ends

The evening ended as they always ended, with Monty Jo Strawser and me sitting on the sidelines making fun of things.

We met where we left off 40 years ago, in the cafeteria, a room that somehow got smaller over the years. I remember it as being cavernous when I was a sophomore, so big that the entire student body could have lunch at the same time. It never occurred to me that this was possible not because the room was large, but because the student body was so small.

There we sat and pretended to be certain of one another’s identities without looking at each other’s name tags while awaiting our first big event of the day: An aerial photograph of our class arranged in a “72,” our graduating year. This was a feature of our yearbook and the reunion committee thought it would be fun to do it again.

Of course, the reunion committee did not know that it was going to be about 900 degrees that day, or that many of our classmates chose to skip the get-together in favor of the evening festivities at the Moose Lodge.

The 2012 “72” was looking a little sparse, so the organizers started filling the gaps with spouses, dogs, strangers, whatever they could find. And then a small plane piloted by one of our classmates buzzed us and my brother P.D. made the pictures.

One of the photos appears to have me making an impolite hand gesture at my brother. Of course, I would never do such a thing, despite what he told Mom. I blame Photoshop.

The evening began with a short remembrance of classmates who have graduated ahead of the rest of us – a bittersweet moment indeed – and then a short program emceed by one of the class smart alecks who shall remain nameless. We played Class Trivia – you know, questions like “What was our class motto?” Turns out I had it wrong all these years. I thought it was Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

After that came dinner and then dancing and that brings us back to Monty Jo and me on the sidelines.

The girls were dancing in a circle. The guys were standing around looking for their openings. And Monty Jo and I were in our customary place, pointing and laughing — not so much at the people as at the fact that our dances were exactly like this 40 years ago. The only difference is this time we didn’t have a basketball game beforehand.

Ah, high school. Frank Zappa was right. It never really ends, does it?