Monday, June 16, 2014

The Gathering

This weekend is the annual golfing/kayaking trip with the guys. I look forward to this trip every year. There's a lot of men out there who have similar excursions. Yes, nothing like a weekend with the guys.

I think of my gathering as a little special, as I'm sure most guys do. You get together with a bunch of friends that you know you can let your hair down and just goof off. Throw back a few beers and make fun of each other's receding hair lines. If, you have any hair left. Yes, we laugh at our golf swings and how utterly graceful we are getting in and out of a kayak.

It's a little hard to explain just how special this particular gathering is. This group has been meeting for over 25 years. Paul is the one guy who has taken it upon himself to keep this thing going. It is safe to say that if he had not done so, it would not have lasted. Paul started this out of personal tragedy, it took on a life of its own but Paul is still the lifeblood of this assemblage. He is the organizer, the planner, the man with the whistle and clipboard.

This group is made up of a lot of guys who have known each other a very long time. The biggest common denominator is high school. Many of us graduated from the same school. Mostly from the classes of '69 and '70. However, there are some of us that go further back. There are a lot of us that went to CYO together, we were in the same Boy Scout Troop. Paul's father was our Scout Master back then. No doubt, Paul gets some of that planning stuff from his old man. There are a few of us, that were even in grade school together. It is quite something that some of this history lives in all of us. We knew each other when we were kids at school, at church, we went off to summer camp together, we shared experiences in our so-called formative years. We played cowboys and soldiers and gladiators together. We discovered rock and roll, grew our hair a little longer and started noticing girls. After high school, a lot of us went in different directions. There was college, the service, jobs, we had lives to live. Somehow, Paul was able to get a bunch of us back together and he has made us stay together once a year for over a quarter century.

As special as our gathering is, this year has a bit more of a special feel to it. Back in the fall, we lost a frequent member of our gang. Kevin was well liked by anyone who had ever met him. In any group there is always a core team. Kevin was part of that team. He knew the efforts that Paul went through to make this weekend happen every year and he made sure we recognized and thanked Paul. Kevin was what we all call a stand up guy.

So, this year, we will meet, we will goof off and make fun of our golf game but, in some way, I'm sure we will pay tribute to our friend Kevin. I'm sure Paul will make that happen. I'm also sure Paul will make sure we gather again next year.