Last October I had the pleasure of attending the 50th reunion of my high school class, a landmark event that comes all too quickly in life. Even though I had some reservations about going because I had missed the two previous reunions, it turned out to be a wonderful experience visiting with old friends and acquaintances, and recalling fun times. For those who have yet to pass through that landmark threshold of life, I strongly recommend that you make the effort to attend yours when the time comes around, as such opportunities to reconnect with friends from your past will become fewer and farther between.
But that was then and this is about now, and my most recent reconnection of last week traveling to Maine to, among other things, visit with a dear high school chum who was a year older than I but very much a part of a segment of my life much like that depicted in the movie American Graffiti. There were mixed groups of all ages, drive-in gatherings, high school romances, sock hops, dances, parties at friends homes, hot rods, gags, jokes, social organizations, school groups and plays, and just generally having fun, but at the center of all of this was a nucleus of friends who had grown up together and enjoyed a shared appreciation of humor. "Tinka", an affectionate nickname only I seem to still use, was definitely a part of that nucleus. Only twice before have I traveled to distant places to renew old friendships, both of which were very successful, so my expectations ran high for this trip, particularly since I had initiated an e-mail exchange with her last year out of the clear blue not knowing what her response might be. Tinka's reply was not only quick, but heart-warming in the sense that it was as if time had stood still since 1958, the last time I saw her before she went east to college. The more my wife and I made plans for the trip, the more comfortable we became, and we were not disappointed.
From the moment we were greeted on the front porch of Tinka and her charming and gracious husband, Keith's lovely home near the Rockport-Camden-Rockland area of Maine, we felt right at home. Naturally, there was the expected conversation bringing each other up to date on our respective families including children and grandchildren. As parents, we all agreed that we were truly blessed to see our children happily married with children of their own living their lives away from us. We then were treated to a personal tour of the barn/office/studio constructed on their property as a carbon neutral structure generating more energy than it consumes about which I first wrote on April 25th dealing with a green environment. You can learn more about it at http://brightbuiltbarn.com. (As an aside some of this technology is the same as was used by Brad Pitt's MAKE IT RIGHT FOUNDATION to rebuild a neighborhood in the ninth ward of New Orleans which was featured on Meet The Press just this morning). That evening we enjoyed a one of a kind dinner at Saltwater Farm, an organic eating enterprise and cooking school that is the pride and joy of a young lady who I quickly dubbed the Alice Waters of Maine in her approach to cooking only freshly grown products in a wholesome way. Go to and learn more about this great place at http://saltwaterfarm.com . But then the real surprise came during the evening when I was introduced to a couple in attendance, the wife of which just happened to be another high school classmate two years younger than I whom I also had not seen in over fifty years. Needless to say, it was an evening to remember.
After touring around the area and taking in all of the history, sights, museums and art the next day, we enjoyed another great evening with Tinka and Keith continuing where we left off the night before discussing variety of subjects of mutual interest including food, wine, education, the economy, some politics, art and the body of work by three generations of Wyeths - N.C., Andrew and James, which is featured at the wonderful Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. For the record Tinka is a very accomplished artist in her own right whose website I plan to add to my list below when it is ready. Just chatting with her re-energized me to resume my pitiful attempt at oil painting which I put on hold two years ago. Then all too soon the evening came to a close, as Keith had an early flight the next morning. So, we ended the experience exactly the same way we began it the evening before with a great big hug plus a promise to stay in touch and not let too much time pass before we get together again. And, of course, I have since thought of a gillion unasked questions which I knew I would, so we'll just have to keep our fingers tapping on the computer keyboards until that occasion presents itself. But the point of sharing this experience is to promote reconnecting with old friends, as you will be pleasantly surprised and richly rewarded for the effort in my view.
FOOTNOTE: In traveling from Boston to Brunswick via I-95/I-295 we paid $12.00 in toll fees, so someone please tell me again why Arkansas cannot do the exact same thing to fund the many needed road improvements now under study in our state?
Current United States Debt still at http://usdebtclock.org
Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com
Matt McLeod at http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Artists Registry at http://www.arkansasarts.org/programs/registry/default.aspx
Sandy Hubler Fine Art at http://sandyhublerfineart.com
George Wittenberg at http://postcard-art-gallery.com
Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com
Red Door Gallery at http://reddoorgalleryonline.com
M2 Gallery at http://m2lr.com
UALR Gallery Program at http://ualr.edu/art
Gallery 26 at http://gallery26.com