A few weeks prior to this celebration, I had agreed to host my cousin and his parents at my new home since they would be passing through Austin. It had completely slipped my mind that I had rsvp'd to attend my high school gathering. My cousin and I coordinated a plan to have them stay the night while my girlfriend, Christina, and I made arrangements to leave Austin in time to reach Dallas for my reunion in the evening.
That Friday morning began with me cleaning my home and preparing for my guests. Around noon I finished up some left overs in the fridge and was joined by Christina who took a half day from work. We loaded up my truck after she modeled a few outfits for the evening (we settled on comfort and simplicity).
The road was smooth and clear for the most part even though we stopped in Waco for a small bite to eat. With some food in our belly we felt satisfied to finish the hour and a half journey to Dallas and ultimately my high school auditorium as the festivities were scheduled to begin at 6p. We arrived early and were greeted by a bustling campus hosting multiple gatherings as the school was preparing for the evening's home coming football game. The old campus looked both new and ancient as it has continued to grow over the years.
Christina and I roamed around searching for food and drinks as my old classmates began to arrive. Slowly the cold auditorium filled up with hundreds of warm souls from generations of graduates dating back to 1958. It was a bit surreal seeing my peers now 20 years older than when we were boys in school. Many were fathers, married, divorced, aged, youthful, taller, chubbier, and doing well in the world.
I didn't really plan a script for the minute conversations that we'd continue to repeat over the evening, but rather I just shared all the honest good news going on in my life. For instance, I proudly shared that I was a boxing coach and that I had just bought a home in Austin. I laughed with my peers over the hilarious recollection of events and stories from our past. It was a joy to have Christina there as she attracted a great deal of attention herself which she characteristically handled with grace and class.
It was nice to see my old friends, sometimes greeting each other with an embrace (there were even some I never got a chance to speak to). After posing for a class reunion picture, I was informed that the festivities would continue at a local pub which we stopped at to have a drink and end the night with dancing. It was a fantastic evening which after some reflection has led me to conclude that even though at the time high school felt like such a competitive environment, it was really a "coal into diamond" experience. After I had discovered boxing, I noticed that I could really deal with anything, and very similarly by attending Jesuit, I developed the confidence to become the man that I am... I am grateful for the sacrifices made by my parents, teachers, and classmates that has allowed me to attend such a school, to grow, and to thrive.