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One, forty, fifty? - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
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One, forty, fifty?

Saturday, sixish p.m.

My first-ever reunion trip in 40 years; the oldest (high school) and furthest (the far county of Long Island). I got on the road right at 8 a.m. and figured a seven-hour trip since I planned it to be non-stop.  But there are always stops.  The first, once I was gassed up and on the 90, came about 20 minutes in, when a bread truck decided to come to a stop in the middle of the eastbound lanes and make a three-point turn. (Another truck of the same brand was on the side of the road and he must've overshot it.)  So, yeah. Good mark on the driving test for precision; bad for judgment.

One cuppa kawfee wasn't enough, so I made a second Timmy's stop in Batavia before taking the shortcut from there down to Geneseo.  That was when Facebook gave me a memory of exactly a year ago today:



Righhht.... that would've been on my drive back from my trip last August to see the Mets at Yankee Stadium. And I was due to head down that very road just four hours later.



So yes, that was another stop; as there were two more for gas (JARVIS gets good mileage but has a small tank).  Finally, there were hundreds of little stops once I turned back onto the Thruway, 87 division, for the last leg of the trip: lots more cars down here, and two major stops for tolls. One, on the Tappan Zee, has already gone cashless; if you don't have an EZ-Pass, your license plate smiles for the camera and you get billed by mail plus a service charge. The East River bridges go to that system next month. (Nothing of the sort is planned for the toll barriers on all sides of our fair city:P)  Even with no accidents or unusual construction, it took the better part of two hours to get through Bronx and Queens Counties, and that was even after taking a different bridge to avoid the Grand Central Parkway around Citi Field, which was just then filling with Mets and, still many, Dodgers fans.  (I did not go to Friday night's game, and am glad I didn't, since it was a rather horrid outcome.)

All in all, it was past 5 this afternoon before I got to the hotel.  Not enough time to make plans to see anyone, so I just continued listening to the Mets on my phone. (This one did not go well, either, after a promising early start:P)  When I got to my floor, the reunion was in full swing; unfortunately, it wasn't mine. Another local high school, a few miles closer to this venue, had pulled out all the stops for its 50th year alums.  Eventually, I changed, and headed past them to see if I could catch some early birds. Not a one. A dark room with warming trays not yet turned on, and a deserted signup table out front.  So we blog. It's what we do.  (We will not post until tomorrow, though, since despite this place being the priciest hotel I've stayed at in ages even with a group discount, they charge for wifi.)

I guess the moral of the story is.... make it to my 50th.

----

Sunday, one crummy in-room coffee down, 8:30 a.m.

Pricey hotels also don't have breakfast buffets. They have room service. But that's okay; I'm off to a nice and unexpected breakfast anyway.

When I got to the venue the second time, there were four people outside the room: two were from the organizing company, determined to not let a soul into the room with the open bar booze until the stroke of eight. The others were from our class and had helped organize the event (and all its predecesors). It was pretty clear we weren't going to challenge the old farts down the hall for attendance or energy.  In all, about 40 people had signed up; maybe a few more than half of those actually showed.

Plus two.  And they made the whole night worthwhile.

I was good friends with Ted all through high school. We never lost touch, but we're not regular correspondents, either.  He wound up marrying another member of our class, but many years later after many separate moves. I never knew Ann as well, but always liked her; she also chose the law school path and is now just moving into her own solo style of practice.

Ann does the Face-thing; Ted doesn't. (Hence my references to him as the "smartest man in the room.") We messaged the previous week about whether I'd be there, and they were unsure. Ann's mom had been in the final days of hospice, and she finally passed at the end of that week, leaving them and her remaining family with all the stress of "arrangements."  We left it that if they couldn't make it, we'd meet up somewhere nearby, since they live very close to the reunion venue.  Then, Saturday, they confirmed they'd be coming. And a few minutes after we finally broke double-digit attendance, there they were at the registration table.

Did I mention that the outside group which "planned" this event gave it something short of a five-star effort? They did virtually no promotion other than sending one snail-letter and posting a few social media things, all of them purely YOUR HIGH SCHOOL NAME HERE non-descript. After I signed up, I got only one email from them, a few days ahead: You can still attend! Well, I'd hoped so, since I'd paid and all:P But this one was just a general blast to the whole class, encouraging more. Far as I know, Ted and Ann were the only ones who took them up on it, and the two at the table greeted them with the happiest of news: sorry, cash only. And no ticket until you pay.  Between them, they fished out enough to cover one admission, and were about set to find an ATM in the middle of the industrial-park jungle that is Walt Whitman Road.

But I was here. More importantly, I just got here- and hadn't spent more than 20 bucks since I left.  What do you say to an old friend you haven't seen this century when he suddenly needs 130 bucks? You say, get me tomorrow.  Then you all go in; other people you remember fondly arrive; you drink more than you should have because you're not driving, but not so much that you get stupid; and you even get a few pictures in.

Ted:




And a contemplative Ann (not the best picture, but she's still gorgeous enough not to be badly photographed;):



Across the table from her are Steve and Mary Beth; she was our year, as was Steve's brother, who was also there. I've reconnected with her in recent months and it was great to see them, too.

The easiest job of the night was the bartender; the absolute hardest was the DJ tasked with getting a bunch of tired old 58-year-olds to dance past our usual Saturday night bedtimes.

The obligatory group shot. Yes, I was really there:




And so, the Diner Tour now continues. With Ted in a few at an unspecified one near the hotel; then for lunch back in East Meadow with one of the best Mets bloggers who ever was. Dinner, not diner, will be at my sister's or home late tonight, depending on how many stops I have to make and rogue bread trucks I encounter.

All in all, I think I will try to make the 50th. We might even make it easier on the DJ, slam-dancing to the Ramones in our walkers....




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