Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mini Reunion, Sort of



Old Man Billy Joe Royal in concert.

We had our mini-high school reunion. I am not sure it could be call a reunion of any kind. It was just a small group getting together at one of the person’s house not far from the Georgia Mountain Fair so we could collectively go.

Our target at the fair was to hear another fellow student in concert at 3pm. Billy Joe Royal.

I think all the survivors of the 1960 graduating class Marietta High School were invited. Originally there were 300 of us, I think that numbered has dwindled down about a hundred or more. I think about 20 all totaled showed up which included the spouses and at least two couples were both 1960 students.

The friend that hosted the pre-get-together has a good piece of land on a ridge. His house looks something like a big ski chalet. The inside is very well decorated with antiques and various heirlooms. One whole side, two levels, is all glass overlooking a series of mountains and ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It appears the house is facing southeast, which has a great few of Blood Mountain, which has had a series of Indians fights on it, and also the Appalachian Trail goes over it. And to the left is Brass Town Ball, the highest point in Georgia.

And at the foot of Brass Town Bald, is the Cholestoe District, where my great-great great grandfather John Hunter settled about 1834.

In Indian talk Cholestoe means Dancing Rabbit. That is not exactly Dancing With Wolves, but it will do.

The owner, Buddy, has a brother who created a program that has been a regular on HBO for several years and it has won a bunch of awards. The brother also wrote a movie that was experimental, it took off, and also won some awards. He is coming out with a new series for HBO this fall.

One lady I did not remember in high school and she did not remember me either. When I got home I looked her up in my yearbooks and she was not in the senior or junior books. That sort of reminds me of the movie "Pallbearer".

Another lady, remembered me and gave me a big hug and she was appeared hurt that I didn’t remember her. I slipped over and looked at Buddy’s 1960 year book and looked her up, and I still didn’t remember her.

Another lady, remembered me and gave me a big hug. I also delivered her parents’ newspaper. I always felt she wouldn’t give me the time of day, and only spoke to me when it would have been awkward not to. She told me she thought about me often – I thought when? When we sat by each other in class and she didn’t speak to me or when I delivered her family's paper and she was sitting on her front steps and didn’t speak to me. Interesting enough, she introduced me to her husband, which after doing some small talk with him I discovered we worked for the same employer in Marietta. The Post Office. He worked for the main branch in downtown Marietta and I worked for the Sprayberry Branch and the Gresham Road office. We knew the same people.

There were two men there named Jerry and Lee. I worked together at the Big Apple Supermarket with both of them sacking and carrying our groceries. One of Lee’s job was to empty the cashier’s garbage cans. I would slip him a dollar and while emptying the garbage he would also toss a carton of Winstons in the garbage and when carrying the garbage around to the back, would drop by my unlocked car and leave the smokes. Lee because was a Cobb County Police Detective. He used to always be on TV. He was noted for being a good crime solver. I think I know why, he thought like them.

Jerry also became a Cobb County Detective. After he retired he bought him a few acres in Fannin County and moved up there. He now has chickens to tend and seems happy. I enjoyed talking to him and his wife Edie

One guy there was a wimp in high school. He was a little shrimp that was always intimidated by us “bad” boys. He was there, probably the tallest person there and for certain the most hyper. He is always trying to sell something. He got everybody in a circle and told them he just booked 24 cabins for a cruise because he got the incredible price at $850, which he was willing to share with us. Some of the people, including him, were wearing the Marietta High School Reunion polo shirts that he sold them last year.

He was dressed nice. Dress for success! I think is his salesmanship motto.

We went to the concert. Inside the fairgrounds some of us had to go to the restroom, we got scattered and didn’t go in as a group as planned. I went in the Music Hall with Jerry and his wife Edie.

Billy Joe Royal put on quiet a show. I went down front twice and photographed him and I think he recognized me… maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I was surprised at how many screaming old women there were still crazy about Billy Joe. When he wiggled his hips or so a side-stepping moonwalk, which he must have developed to be trademark to cause the old women to go wild.

But at moments Billy Joe was looking his age… when he would hit high long notes his face distorted and wrinkles and muscles sufraced that made him look like a 66 year old man, which he is. He made a few quick one-liners about his age, for instance, he said he went into a bar and was dancing with this woman and he said, “So tell me, do I come in here often?”

I left after he was finished singing. I stopped on my way out and bought a CD by Billy Joe named "The Best of Billy Joe Royal".

I think overall I felt pretty much awkward with that group who used to be care free teenagers. I have changed and they have changed. I may have felt less awkward if Anna could have came but she had to work. But if Anna was there or not, it is like trying to talk to complete strangers - you either luck up to find some one you now have something in common with or you don't.

Although, I must admit, one guy there almost cried when he realized I was me. He hugged me and said, "God! We had some great times!" And that was it. He went back talking about his current life.

I went to a booth operated by either the Civitans or the Jaycees and ordered a smoked trout. It was the worse thing I have eaten lately. It was smoked whole, with head and a face still frowning. The little fellow’s eyeballs had crystallized with the heat and it seemed full of loose bones, which after my bone scare the other night I proceeded with caution and probably let a lot of meat get by.

I was in a screened in area with red and white plastic table clothes and probably a dozen tables. I was dining alone. I noticed a table near had a one hundred dollar bill sitting on it.

Should I take it? A motion sensor would probably triggered off a video and the joke would be one me… or should I tell the cashier about the $100 bill? Did someone make a mistake thinking they were leaving a one dollar bill? I decided to let the chips fall where they will. I got up, threw my half-eaten trout in the garbage and left the $100 bill sitting there.

Then I went to New Liberty Baptist Church in the Choestoe District to photograph some markers of relatives.

And that was about my day.

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2 Comments:

Blogger kenju said...

Too bad Anna couldn't go with you, but mr. kenju never goes to my reunions with me, and I think that is fine. He would be bored to tears anyway.

There is nothing sadder than an aging rocker (or country singer) to me. I never heard of that guy before, but that's not saying much.

11:50 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Billy Joe Royal is popular in Georiga I know, just how far his music reaches outside the the state line I don't know.

12:15 PM  

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