"We're putting the band back together!" These were the words my son's godfather greeted me with as he came into our back yard. He was there to celebrate my son's graduation from high school, and suddenly I was transported back thirty-five years. He was one of the guests in my parents' back yard when we both graduated from high school. One of the other guests, way back when, was my girlfriend who had once been his girlfriend. His girlfriend, at that point, ended up marrying me and becoming the mother of the child whose graduation we were celebrating in the present.
Are you following this?
My wife's best friend from high school, who has the designation of godmother to that same child, did not attend the party on my parents' back porch either, but she was one of the driving forces behind getting all of us together to attend a performance of drum corps just down the road in San Jose. All of these adults had spent their formative years together in a paramilitary organization known as the Boulder High School marching band. We spent a lot of time together, and became very close. So close that we generated all those coincidental and eventual relationships that carry on today.
This was the core group that came to my house to celebrate my fiftieth birthday. It is the group that would make up the bulk of my Facebooking, if I was prone to such activity. Since I am not, and have not as yet seen fit to attend any of my high school's reunion festivities, this will suffice for that purpose. That purpose would seem to be reminding me all at once how long I've been alive and how lucky I am to have made these lasting connections when I was the age my son is now.
I tried to make a little speech out of this, at my son's graduation party. I was marveling at the room full of friends that stuck around to hang out with him after the force majeure had moved on. This was the gang that closed the place out, and I felt the need to comment on it. I interrupted their Mario Kart binge to say how lucky I thought they were, and how I hoped that someday they would be sitting around one another's living rooms as grownups, reveling in their children's high school graduations.
They weren't ready to be impressed by the dangling thread of time.
I still am.
I'm lucky to have a band to put back together: Clarinet, flute, cymbals, drums, and tuba.