Thank you James Taylor. You wrote an anthem for many of us (“Fire and Rain”).
This past weekend, my high school class (1969 – Spaulding High School) celebrated our 50th reunion. Fifty years – where did they go, and why aren’t we all here? Both, hard questions, and no easy answers – life happened is about as good as I can do.
People and friends I grew up with flooded my brain with their smiling faces, and flashbacks to a time long ago. That night, it was sweet, and now, it is hard, I have to fight back the tears as I write this.
We grew up in a small central Vermont town, Barre. Everybody knew each other – it was the way life was then. Most of us shared an immigrant background in our families. Parents and grandparents came from the “old country” and found their way to Barre to work in the granite quarries and granite sheds producing beautiful granite monuments that found their way all over the world. So, the site of our 50th reunion, the Barre Granite Museum was more than fitting.
1969 was a big year, not just for us, but for most Americans. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon that year, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Woodstock Nation rocked our lives and the world too. And yet, this was the last time we were still insulated from most of the world. Imagine that, being insulated from the world that was going on outside of our world in Barre, Vermont.
This reunion, a 50th, by most standards, is a giant mile marker, one that stands out like a huge sign on the interstate highway of life. There were plenty of hugs and kisses to go around, and just so damn glad to be there and see everyone, well not everyone, but many of us, one more time. Now, I have the night, and our faces and smiles to keep in my heart and bring up when I want to see you.
So, I am going to leap forward one more year, 1970, and borrow some lyrics from James Taylor’s song, “Fire and Rain.”
“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again.”
For one more time I got to see many of the best people in the world.
“Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.”