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Saturday, August 21, 2010
BILL PAPE RIDES THE DOG TO 45TH REUNION -RUMINATIONS ALONG THE WAY
To get to high school reunions this year, and distinguish myself from successful classmates in doing so, I road the Dog this year to St. Louis, not a bike as in a previous reunion year. It was an interesting trip both ways. On my way back East, I found myself riding with a group of convicts, whom the bus driver labeled, “The Committee.” Whenever she got on the loud speaker to chastise them through Illinois and Indiana she addressed them as “The Committee,” I think because they talked so much, so loud and so continuously during the long miles of our ride. I guessed them to be convicts because as we pulled out of St. Louis, I heard the words “half way house” in one of their comments, and because, after they got finished displaying for several hours an encyclopedic knowledge of sports, which included discounting, in two sentences, a 12-page 'New Yorker' article on boxing I showed them, they moved on to various discussions of what one rap song I like summarizes as “blunts and broads……, ” (“Hypnotize,” by the genius, Notorious B.I.G.). They showed me, as I listened in, that they certainly knew more about drugs than I had learned in 30 years as a probation officer, and more about women than I learned in 60+ years of relationships with that gender. I was also prompted to guess they came from somewhere in common because they all had a uniform of sorts, white t-shirts and white crew-top socks in sandals. At one stop, our tough-as-nails driver had the police take one of them off, which I thought a little unfair, since his crime, hogging two seats, was one she charged me with just before yelling at him for it. I guess his release from a short stint of fed time was starting out badly, because he had to renew his travel by some other means than the Dog in the middle of Ohio. One of the committee members took the attached picture for me, showing our bus. Attending this year’s reunion was one of three women I fell in love with between kindergarten and 6th grade, “affairs” that decreased in intensity and time-span unfortunately over time, until the one with Cynthia lasted probably about 20 seconds, by the drinking fountain behind Tillman, perhaps completely in the imagined, instead of real, world, since she had no knowledge of it to recollect when I mentioned it to her. All that I remember happening in this last affair was my liking her and our having a few words together. The first “affair” lasted at least a couple years, from pre-K in Berkeley, MO, until I moved to Kirkwood in the middle of second grade, devastating at least me, and it included a lot of drama, most times real, once interrupted by the cleaning lady. The second affair, slightly tamer and less emotionally intense, involved my being summoned into a bedroom closet by a girl who became a KHS beauty (in another grade) for examination of our under-garments, after both our mothers inexplicably consented to a suggestion we two enjoy a sleep-over, at her house, in her bedroom, after which I would have to wait some ten more years for an invitation so excellent. Cynthia, my third and least actual affair, also turned out to be a very beautiful woman, as can be seen in the attached picture, so at least there was nothing wrong with my eyesight in those years.
Bill, hope it's okay that I put this excellent article here, I figure if you're willing for it to be on Facebook, you won't mind it here! Stay in touch!