At the extended table, propped right smack in the driveway of a former classmate’s plush residence, sat more than 30. The evening is meant as a yule season gathering to plan for their coming anniversary as school batchmates.
In the middle of the whole length of the table, in front of their plates of food, stands a line of bottles consisting of an assortment of red wines, along with their poisons of choice. After all, these are no longer children, nor are they millennials. The reunion’s agendum, a 50-year celebration from secondary school, betrays their ages and senior status, despite the ruckus they are making. Woe to the neighborhood, they might as well be back as the carefree high schoolers that they once were.
As ‘tis the season to be jolly, the scene is now replicated everywhere, as it is likewise a time for reunions. For this motley crew, the occasion marks a pause from all personal commitments, for at least a few hours or so, and a dive headfirst into the welcome whiff of the past, together with former companions, most of whom one had not seen in many years.
Their tales are of course, general issue and predictable, like those that come forth from the mouths of knights of yore, briefly home from battle. There’s the usual mix of bittersweet, happy and rowdy recollections, of tall tales mostly conquest-laden, and accounts of present-day statuses.
However, one needs only to look beyond all these and appreciate the poignancy behind them. Hear ye, all of these present were once united in youth, until all had gone their separate ways into the real world, had success and failure as constant companions, and endured countless trials here and abroad. The youth of wild abandon may be gone, but they are still here, and that is what matters most this evening.
This meeting at the long table (which should have aptly been round) might as well act as one of those much-needed pauses from life’s continuing battles. Aside from it being deservedly a feast, it becomes many things. A call for celebration of camaraderie and life, honoring fallen companions, and more important, a common sharing of each other’s journey. Hopefully next year, more will come home. May their numbers increase.