A Long and Winding Road

Last night I attended what started out as an informal reunion of the Red Bank High School Class of 1973. It became a fairly formal and very well organized event that was attended by around 70 people. I was amazed by how this thing came together. But I guess I shouldn’t have been. We had some fantastic organizers in our high school.

I saw people I haven’t seen in 35 years and very much surprised that I was recognized by as many people as recognized me. Some of these people I have known since 1960 and was very close to during my childhood and teenage years. Some I barely knew.  It was a joy to see every one  of them.

This got me to thinking, as it was meant to do, just how much changed and how much unchanged we all were. The personalities were all the same but our bodies have aged. So many of us were still recognizable, so few of us weren’t. The real changes weren’t personalities or physical changes but were changes in the eyes.

Last night I truly understood how the eyes are windows into our souls. Even through the joy that appeared in everyone’s eyes on seeing old friends there could be seen the sadness and joys each and every one of us had experienced over the last three and a half decades.

Our experiences were on display there, in our eyes, and I’m sure they would only be visible to people who had known each other as long as we have known each other.

Debbie, thank you so much for being the instigator of this event. Cassandra, I will be eternally grateful to you for organizing everything. Y’all and all the others involved in planning and organizing this event gave me a joy that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Oh, and Debbie, one other thing. Yes, God is good. God is good all of the time and all of the time God is good. God bless you and have safe travels.

10 thoughts on “A Long and Winding Road

  1. Debbie Pope

    Hey, Larry — I'm just now seeing your note on Monday afternoon. Mama and I left early Sunday morning for an overnight trip to Nashville to see several of my former students & to spend the night with Michael J. & Lisa Whitten. Just got back about an hour ago. I haven't had a keyboard at hand until now.Thank you for your note — you're so right about the eyes being the window of the soul. I was thinking about all the invisible elements of Saturday night — all the joy & happiness, sadness & pain present in that room in our accumulated life experiences. And you know there were buckets of each present. And what was wonderful about it all — at least to me? I felt like we wrapped up the whole package with joy — joy in each other's presence.And that is the way it is meant to be, I think.My favorite author, Frederick Buechner, a Presbyterian minister & novelist — says that ultimately in life, the joy and the sorrow are all one. In the end, in other words, joy triumphs.

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  2. Gregory L Wade

    Hey Larry, nicely said. Thanks to the ladies for a heap of fun!And think about it, after this many years, we have all suffered heartache and great successes. Kids, jobs, aging parentals, spouses etc. Either we have learned something or we haven't and probably never will. Based on the cumulative wisdom and spirit I saw at Valleyview or whatever you call it, I would say most of us are on the right track to look back someday and think, "job well done."High school was really such a short time in the scope of things, but Red Bank High has a long and proud tradition we can all go back to. Heck, my grand parents went to Red Bank High. That is a connection we have all our own!Let's build on it. There are a lot more folks I want to see again. And I didn't spend the time with several last night I wanted to!!

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  3. Anonymous

    I figured that Kathy, Gail and Beverly were also involved but no one was taking credit for anything and the only reason I knew you and Debbie were involved was due to Debbie doing the promoting and you were the one I was told to confirm my coming to.And since it's going to be such a long time before any of us are in wheelchairs or using walkers then maybe, just maybe, there is a glimmer of hope for a weekend retreat one day. If that ever gets serious thought please let me know what I can do to help make it happen.

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  4. Larry Burton

    I figured that Kathy, Gail and Beverly were also involved but no one was taking credit for anything and the only reason I knew you and Debbie were involved was due to Debbie doing the promoting and you were the one I was told to confirm my coming to.And since it's going to be such a long time before any of us are in wheelchairs or using walkers then maybe, just maybe, there is a glimmer of hope for a weekend retreat one day. If that ever gets serious thought please let me know what I can do to help make it happen.

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  5. Cassandra Mabe Godbold

    Thank you for the kind words Larry , but this really was a great team effort. Pope, Shauf, Newman, Barker and I truly had a ball visiting and then the last 5 minutes decided who would do what. How fun that is! And by the way…. I don't think any of us are going to be ready for wheel chairs for a LONG time! thanks so much… c

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  6. Darline Crane McGinnis

    Larry, I love your insight about the eyes in your note about the reunion. It was such a good time and I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful friends who've shared moments of their life with me. I'm with you on a weekend retreat — wouldn't that be fun!

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  7. Howard Lewis

    So true Larry. It was a great time but much to short to spend quality time with everyone. It was great seeing you and the gang and I hope we get together again very soon. Thanks to everyone for being there and making this a wonderful event.

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  8. Anonymous

    This would be completely unworkable but before we all get to the point we require wheelchairs or walkers I'd like to see a weekend retreat organized just for the extra time together. Last night was just too short to catch up with everyone I wanted to.

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  9. Larry Burton

    This would be completely unworkable but before we all get to the point we require wheelchairs or walkers I'd like to see a weekend retreat organized just for the extra time together. Last night was just too short to catch up with everyone I wanted to.

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