By Arthur H. Gunther III
Anyone with a tucked-away 50th high school reunion can tell you the road ahead offers a not-so-distant horizon. Gone is the heady infallibility of youth, the stirring of young love, the great hope and promise that is the beginning of the journey. All of a sudden our earliest yesterdays and the doors we could open then are no longer in the rearview mirror, so quickly does the trip go.
Some of us have already left the trail, and though we hope their reward is what is pray for, we who remain behind -- for now -- must take stock. How many of us could have predicted our lives, the people we have met, worked with, lived with? Or have counted the children raised, the grandchildren there now for some us, already on their own paths? Getting off the school bus for the last time way back when, few if any could have made an accurate prediction of what has come to pass.
That is not to say lives go unplanned, or that standards set were not deliberately met. Good for those who could do that, with some luck surely, as well as due diligence.
Life seems to become so much more reflective 60 or so years out, especially in retirement when the old daydreams of childhood, youth, young life and those that helped get us through the years of maturing in family and workplace are perhaps replaced by the revisiting of long-buried doubt, fear and mistakes, nudged from the sub-conscious with time on our hands.
If we are individually fortunate, we will each go to destiny and finality in great quiet, even the ill among us. We have all lost former classmates and know others who will leave sooner than later. Some are now at that very turn in the road. It is sad, but there is hope, too. We will all take the trip.
In the bond that is group experience -- and that, surely, is high school, even back half a century -- there is gathered, intermixed DNA that marks one as with the other, always, even without face-to-face revisiting. So, when one among us is hurt, is sick or is about to move on over the horizon, the brethren somehow knows and feels.
In that there is comfort, for no one can ever be alone in all this.