I wrote this a month ago but let it sit in draft status until today, and I'm not sure why. But here goes . . .
It's kind of amazing how thoughts tumble through my head while I'm out shoveling (more) snow. Richard Holstad keeps dropping ideas and I get these recollections, some good, some bad, and sometimes they crystallize while I'm trying to make my physical world better.
Within the walls of the old high school building I don't think I was ever smart enough to imagine where I would wind up today. That's not necessarily a good or bad thing, and maybe I'm not the only one to fall into this category of having, to some degree, "drifted" to where I am today. And that is not necessarily a good or bad thing either. It's just what it is.
But while I think about that I also think of the classmates that we've lost over the years and their consequent inability to get to our age - like we have, whether by design or by accident. So far as I know, Barbara Morris was the first to be in this group, and the more I think about it, the more tragic it is that she never made it out of high school, never really made it into the starting blocks, so to speak.
On the day of her funeral my dad asked me about my plans to attend, and at the moment he asked I was frankly waffling, not sure if I should or would or not. Somehow, his question made me think that it must be important to be there, so I went. You were probably there, and you probably remember like me just how quiet it was in that packed church - the Methodist Church, as I recall. The 6 seniors of the basketball team served as pallbearers, and the whole service was a check against our immortality. It was so sorrowful, so sudden, so true.
It was five or six years later that Arlo Severson died in a car accident near Cedar Rapids. I was asked to be a pallbearer, my first time doing so, and again felt this surreal awareness of mortality. After the services we had the traditional Norwegian Lutheran lunch in the basement, and it was there that Gladys Severson thanked me for being a pallbearer. What was I supposed to say? I was caught short of words. "You're welcome" seems feeble and "thank you for asking me" would be downright stupid.
Serving as a pallbearer is not my favorite thing to do, even though it is certainly an honor to be asked to do so, and I would not decline unless it flat is not possible to participate. And where our early departing classmates are concerned, I find myself musing over their lives - what might they have become? We who are left can only be musing about our own dreams and whatever measure of satisfaction we might feel we have achieved.