I grew up in Stanley, North Dakota. Many of the people of my home town are snowbirds in Arizona. (A snowbird is a person who flees the northern climes during the winter to spend the cold, snowy months in some more civilized climate - like Arizona's.) Some of them have given up on North Dakota altogether and now live in Arizona year-round.
At any rate, old friendships die hard. So once a year those part-time residents of Stanley or former residents of Stanley gather in Pioneer Park for a picnic, or North Dakota pot-luck.
I last attended one nearly 40 years ago and since I have grown older and have a new car and am retired I decided to attend this year's picnic.
A childhood friend of mine, Jim Burbidge, was instrumental. He planned to come from his home in Federal Way, Washington to spend time with his brother and sister and attend the picnic. So we agreed to meet.
Here are the two jolly old codgers, both white-bearded. Please note that Jim's hair is white, too, unlike mine. But then he is 7 months older than I am.
Jim's brother and sister also attended. Jack is my brother's age and I believe Jean is older still.
Jean always was a short young woman but to give you an idea of how short she is now, here's a look at the top of her hat.
When I showed that picture to Jean she said "How did you get that?"
I said, "Well, I am a little taller than you, Jean."
In fact, I didn't even have to stand on tiptoe and I'm just a shade over 6 feet tall these days.
And finally there was Stan Wright. Stan has lived in Stanley nearly all his life and that life has been a long and fruitful one. He has been involved in probably every good thing that has ever happened in that small community. I can remember him as a grown man when I was just a tyke, which must put him at close to 90 now. I kidded him today about his trombone. (He's a musician, among his other talents.) He said he has about three invites every week from some band or another asking if he'd like to sit in.
Stan the Man. A life well lived.
I met lots of other people from my home town today but had to be reintroduced to practically all of them. I haven't seen them for decades and somehow they don't look the same.
My wife said, "Y'know what? Neither do you!"