Thursday, the ice was broken by attending a dinner with a small group of what I knew would be either supporters or not be negative. This involved a dinner out, and a next evening a small cocktail party of invited guests over at a friend’s home. My confidence was reinforced by these two events. To my surprise, friends remained friend irregardless my presentation. Football days, teachers and overall experiences were discussed just like nothing was different. I believe we were all humbled by passing of the 50 years. The old saying “The older I get the better I was,” applied to many of our the recollections.
I had several backup plans for the main event Saturday. My table was the “already in the know” group from the previous evenings - My safe zone. I made sure I had something to do – discussing the video and delivering DVDs. This ensured that I would meet many thus preventing me from being a wallflower. NO alcohol - I wanted to be fully aware and sharp. This is a big recommendation - Alcohol does not enhance your courage. Self confidence is a much better plan.
The women were the most open. Many, many hugs and questions. Long conversations followed by positive comments. Some of the guys that I knew only for classes or home room were less open. Several wanted to hug the woman standing before them (typical greeting) however, found it awkward in my case. One person could not back away fast enough and another shook my hand so hard it hurt.
Old friends were still old friends. To be pro-active I would just go to their table and sit down and ask “questions?”. Wives were the first to chime in. One especially good friend, I asked, “What no kiss?” After we laughed and talked for a while I planted a big red lipstick kiss on the top of his shiny bald head. His wife almost fell out of her chair laughing. Great fun!
I had several to come over to my table, sit down and tell me things about myself I did not recognize while in school. How they wanted to know me better and wish they would have taken the time. How I was above the cliques and was a friend to everyone. How they thought I was smart – something I did not see in myself. One said that she knew I was not like most of the other guys. That I knew, but though I kept it hidden.
To soon the evening ended. A wonderful experience.
One very big observation/comment - Would I do it again? – Absolutely!