See that group of people? We go back. Further than high school. Further than grade school. My brothers and sister are in that group. I’ve known them all their lives. The others? They shared cribs and playpens with my siblings. I babysat them. I changed and fed them. We lived next door to each other, around the corner. We knocked on bedroom walls and giggled in the middle of the night.
I remembered my brother’s first kiss with Debbie. We teased that they would marry someday. Instead they ended up going to prom together.
I remember Anthony eating worms and sticking turtles in his pants.
I was jealous of the Barbie’s and accessories that Donna and Diane had. I had a knock-off ‘fashion doll’.
I played wiffleball with all of those boys in the playground behind our houses.
See the guy front and center in the dark hoodie? His name is Joe and he is the baby. He will be 40 on his next birthday…..if he sees his next birthday.
Joe has cancer. His bills have started rolling in and his insurance has just ended. Isn’t that the way things like this happen? We threw a beef and beer to raise money for those bills. Tickets were sold out. Raffles and gift auctions raised even more. There was lots of dancing and drinking and laughter. And food! Good Lord, I’ve never seen so much food! Almost all of it was gone by the end of the night.
More than the money, Joe’s spirits were raised. It’s been forever since all of us were gathered in one room. We hugged each other repeatedly and caught ourselves just staring across the room at each other, smiling with memory.
I remembered our mothers as being taller. Now they are beginning to bend with age. I remembered seeing them coming home after a ‘date night’ with their husbands, slightly flushed and tipsy. Now…..wow, how time flies.
As the holidays come, we will gather with our own families. Maybe one or two will show up at another’s home. We promised to get together more often, but will we? I hate the thought that the next time we will be together, one of us will be missing…..not just somewhere else, but gone.
But damn, it was cool to be little kids again…….if only in our memories.