As each Friday 1 p.m. lunch rolls around on my weekly calendar, I really look forward to meeting with my peers.
Yes, it has been over 55 years since we were graduated together from the C.E. Donart (now SHS) Class of 1965, but we have kept the spirit of togetherness alive after all this time by regularly swapping tales each week at Mazzio’s restaurant in Our Town. For me personally, it is a sheer joy to see my dear peeps, and swap both current and distant past stories with them. I will admit, many of our ramblings have some extra embellishment added to them, but does 100-percent accuracy REALLY matter at this point in point in our lives?
Our pathways over the years have certainly been diverse, but we still mesh together in our weekly conversations. The regular banter takes us all over the spectrum; athletics, politics, people and, yes, occasionally the weather. Remember that country western song about old men always talking about the weather, and old women always talking about old men?
Speaking of women, our female classmates sometimes join us, too, adding their opinions about whatever the table topics of the day happen to be. Just like the men, some of our lady members live in Our Town, and some an hour or less away. Rarely, someone pays us a visit from Dallas, Wichita, or some other far off location. Our close fellowship certainly seems to be worth the extra drive time for the out-of-town members who attend our regular get-togethers..
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly caused our group numbers to be somewhat decreased since March, but the last couple of months, we are, again, almost marking double digits in participants. We still have a few who are reluctant to venture back to our gathering due to the unknown regarding the dreaded virus. The ongoing viral vaccines should help get some of our regular people back with us very soon.
Each of our group has his specific informational area of expertise. Several possess an abundance of athletic knowledge, others agricultural-educated opinions, everyone political opinions, and within our folks, someone always knows something about a “missing classmate’s current state of affairs.” Needless to say, some discussion topics are much more lively than others! If the talk leads to sharply divided opinions, we have the remarkable ability to respectively agree to disagree. This is a wonderful compromise plan, too, because we never appear to hold individual mental grudges from one week to the next against one another. We merely move on to
Kyle, the local restaurant manager, always looks forward to our weekly gathering, and plays an important role in bringing our table the hot, tasty cinnamon rolls after about an hour into our session. He is, also, always available to take our group cell phone picture when we ask him. Immediately after the cellphone camera captures us, a member transfers the group picture to a Facebook posting for the social media world to see!
To be able to re-live the past with these dear friends/classmates has been priceless, especially important during these past 10 pandemic months. Each member has a different twist on what the shutdown/isolation has meant to him, and I really believe this has been very therapeutic for all participants. I know I always feel better after leaving Mazzio’s each Friday afternoon, after a couple of hours, bonding with “my” people.
In fact, it really doesn’t get much better than that.....just sayin’.
Robert Breedlove is an Oklahoma State University news-editorial journalism graduate, and a former newspaper (including News Press) reporter. He resides in Stillwater, and has for most of his life.