More Mountains, More Epiphanies: My 50th Class Reunion (cont.)

Part 3: Fulfillment

Sharing Memories: GHS Tour
Saturday was packed with reunion activities beginning with a tour of the high school. Aside from a few incidentals–different windows, a change of color, lowered ceilings, the addition of a gazebo, and a new traffic pattern–we found the school much as we had left it. So we couldn’t resist starting the day with a spontaneous chorus of “Globe High Tigers,” fight song of “the dear old school we love so well.”

Whenever Globe High Tigers fall in line,
We’re gonna win this game another time.
And for the dear old school we love so well,
And for the orange and black we’ll yell and yell and yell!
We’re gonna fight, fight, fight for every yard;
We’ll circle in and hit that line right hard.
We’re gonna roll Miami on the side,
Yes, we are! RAH! RAH! RAH!

Our first stop was the GHS Hall of Fame–notable first because it was the classroom where we took second-year algebra, trigonometry, and calculus classes with Mr. Marvin Clark–and where he also guided several of us as staff members for the Wigwam, the school yearbook, in 1970 and 1971. There, GHS archivist Dee Hunt shared fascinating  bits of trivia about our alma mater, and we pored over memorabilia dating back to the school’s founding in 1914. Mostly, it seems, we talked. And talked. And talked. Continue reading

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At the Top of Round Mountain: My 50th Class Reunion (cont.)

Part 2: The Gathering 

First stop!

Thursday, November 4
After uneventful flights from Raleigh-Durham to Sky Harbor, I felt like a rube on her first trip to the big city as I attempted to exit the airport and find my ride. Several text messages  with increasingly specific directions about identifying my location finally afforded me the opportunity to embrace my dear friend Pam and meet her husband, Greg. Our hearts were full as we talked nonstop and passed each in its turn the familiar sights on the always magnificent drive from Phoenix to Globe—the Superstition Mountains, Superior, Devil’s Canyon, Top of the World, the Pinto Creek Bridge, the saguaros, the tailings and slag dumps, and the view of town from G Hill, each with its own unique grandeur.

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To the Tops of Many Mountains: My 50th Class Reunion

Part 1: Making Ready for the Journey

At some moments we experience complete unity within us and around us. This may happen when we stand on a mountaintop and are captivated by the view. It may happen when we witness the birth of a child or the death of a friend. It may happen when we have an intimate conversation or a family meal. It may happen in church during a service or in a quiet room during prayer. But whenever and however it happens we say to ourselves: “This is it … everything fits … all I ever hoped for is here.”

This is the experience that Peter, James, and John had on the top of Mount Tabor when they saw the aspect of Jesus’ face change and his clothing become sparkling white. They wanted that moment to last forever (see Luke 9:28-36). This is the experience of the fullness of time. These moments are given to us so that we can remember them when God seems far away and everything appears empty and useless. These experiences are true moments of grace.

 —Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey 

Over the long weekend of November 4-8, I had the privilege of attending the 50th reunion of the Globe High School class of 1971–my first. Language is my love and my vocation, so not surprisingly, I abhor the tired and the outworn. With that preference in mind, I realize that few stories could be more trite than that of the 68-year-old man or woman (we’re all 68–except for Eddie Casillas!) having moving experiences at a 50th class reunion. When people have asked me politely how I enjoyed the reunion, they can scarcely conceal their sidelong glances when I begin rhapsodizing about that life-changing experience. More than one has asked some version of “you’re kidding, right?” But no, I wouldn’t—couldn’t—kid about those five days in November when I had the rare opportunity to make peace with and find joy in my past. And please pardon the cliché, but both figurative and literally, I would describe those precious days as a mountaintop experience, full to the brim with moments of grace. Continue reading

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Teach Me How to Live: Two Advent Lessons

Note: I began this meditation on November 28, the first Sunday of Advent. Some of the frenzy described herein actually prevented me from finishing it until a full week and another day of relative rest later. Given that context, it seemed appropriate to finish and post today, the second Sunday of Advent. Coincidentally, the photo below was taken only last night–the final day to light only one Advent candle–because we didn’t find the Advent wreath until Friday.

Twenty-five years and a few weeks ago, I threw myself down on my knees and cried out in desperation, “Teach me how to live!” I was fumbling my way through a difficult marriage, searching for a job, and rearing a hyperactive four-year-old step-grandchild who had been deposited on my doorstep—a doorstep no child had ever crossed before. Continue reading

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La Mulți Ani: A Tentative and Cautionary Birthday Wish for the USA

This is the photo from the Facebook post that inspired today’s quasi-patriotic musings.

Yesterday, I read in a news article shared on Facebook that Disney has decided  to change the opening announcement at its Magic Kingdom fireworks show. The original greeting began, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dreamers of all ages.” The new, more “inclusive” line has been reduced to “Good evening, dreamers of all ages.” Continue reading

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Even at the grave we make our song . . .

. . . but not during the Paschal celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ–at least in the Episcopal Church.
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A Hot Dog Is a Sandwich

George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair), 1903-1950

Every semester, staff and instructors at FTCC are allowed to take one class free of charge, and I almost always try to take advantage of that wonderful opportunity. This semester I am taking a class in critical thinking offered by the humanities department. Since learning to think critically is essential to the process of persuasive writing, I chose this class as part of my annual professional development to assist me in improving my English composition classes.

I wrote the material below in response to one a homework assignment in that class. After completing an assessment of our individual learning styles (no surprise: mine was verbal/linguistic, with musical as a close second), we had to answer questions in which we discussed and analyzed our specific results. The final question for the assignment read as follows: List no less [sic] than five reasons why a hot dog in a bun is not a sandwich. Explain your answers. This is my response:

This is a game I won’t play. Continue reading

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Wonder: My New Year’s Resolution

Among the saddest lines in literature are the ones with which Nick Carraway describes his last glance at the sprawling estate on Long Island from which Gatsby watched the green light on Daisy’s dock:

As the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

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What We Have Lost: Our Stories Make Us One

“Thanksgiving lessons jettison pilgrim hats, welcome truth”
This headline from the Associated Press exploded inside my skull when I saw it three days ago, and in the dust that settled, I read an important lesson about what has been lost as the enemies of American culture have whittled away at the stories that once united us in the effort to make us hate ourselves and apologize for our glorious history. Please have patience, and follow me as I trace the path by which I reached some fresh but troubling insights into our current moment. Continue reading

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Phone Fun

The day was Friday, November 13. The time was 1:15 p.m. The occasion was my online-scheduled, social-distanced, not-so-express pickupped iPhone 12 Pro Max. With the alternating frenzy and lethargy of the last two weeks, I was uncharacteristically and unapologetically eager to let myself go and have a real treat. And so it was. Below, I am sharing a few carefully curated photos from an afternoon of fun with my new phone–and with Pavel’s version of fun, a few brewskis.

Click on the photos below to witness some of the features of this new marvel of technology and art all in one:

Waiting at the Apple Store, Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh

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