Monday, August 22, 2005

August 22, 2005
On Saturday evening the Class of 1965 met at the Powerhouse (a huge power plant built in the 1920s that was abandoned when we went to high school, then salvaged in the late nineties and turned into a museum with banquet facilities). After cocktails, the photographer hired for the event, told us to each grab a folding chair and meet him across the street at Locomotive Park, where a giant steam engine and coal car from the 1940s sits parked. As the photographer arranged folding chairs in a long row and asked some of my female classmates to take a seat, he pointed at the ground in front of them and asked for volunteers to “take a seat.” I plopped down, and Steven Craig Burford sat down on one side of me and Dickie Mesa on the other.

While we were waiting for the other classmates to get into position, Steve told me that his father was the guy who was in charge of getting the train into the park. I distinctly remember the day. It was in 1957 and they built train tracks right down the center of highway 66 and then with cranes, pulled the multi-ton behemoth into position. Steve’s father worked for the Santa Fe and their house was right next to the tracks. When I’d visit him (he played bass in the Exits) and the trains would roll through, the house would shake and it was so loud you couldn’t hear the tv. Later at the U of A, Steve had trouble sleeping because it was so quiet!

Well, here we sat, almost a half century since the train got planted, waiting to have our 40th high school reunion group photo taken. As we waited, Steve, who is quite a joker, leaned over and said, ‘There really isn’t any photo being taken, they’re just f----- with us.” We both started laughing at the absurdity of us toddling around to amuse our handlers and, as we got to giggling, we set each other off until we were both laughing and howling like a couple of kids at a grammar school Christmas pageant.

So, after three flashes from the telephoto, high on two glasses of Merlot and giddy from Burford's mischief, I just naturally faked a heart attack, clutching my chest, flopping on the grass, twitching like a middle-aged dead man. About half the class thought it was funny, the other half, well, they never got me anyway. I think it’s instructive that not one person offered to help me.

I paid $15 for the photo op and I’ll be curious to see the results.

Two nights prior to this I was channel surfing and landed on “Monsoon Wedding.” An old East Indian guy with a mustache has a microphone and is trying to be funny at a wedding reception. His cheesy jokes are embarrassing and lame. Cut to a crowd of young people. The prettiest girl says, “Who is that clown?” And a mortified young man standing next to her says, “That’s my dad.”

“That’s my dad.”
—Deena and Thomas Bell, reading this and rolling their eyes

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