Reminiscence

I was mentioning to Dale earlier that we’ve come a long ways since or younger days of home stereos (before Dolby Prologic), milk barn parties, and checking cattle twice a day.

Where was that magical point when we became (somewhat) responsible adults with jobs and futures outside of Ronda’s Cafe in a little town named Glen Ullin, North Dakota? I really have no idea.

Small town life became even smaller after high school when Dale and I looked around and realized that almost every one of our classmates had gone off to make the world a better place. But then again, there were only 16 in our graduating class and the odds were good they’d leave the nest eventually. It just took Dale and I another semester before we resigned to the pressure of “the responsible thing to do.” Hell, we had registered with the Selective Service. We worked diligently on our respective farms for all those kids in Ethiopia who didn’t have it as good as us. We didn’t pillage or plunder and pretty much kept to ourselves while the wild college kids inside us raged in anger to be let go. We were content.

Almost every day we met in town for lunch. I’d order my chicken fajita with spicy curly fries and a Coke and Monica would have it in front of me minutes later. You see, I was a predictable boy and if she saw us pull up she’d ring the order in before we’d even walk through the door. She was good.

If by some strange chance we couldn’t make it into town for lunch, I’d simply give him a call during Oprah and we’d discuss the latest diet fad or domestic abuse issues. We were simple, but not entirely uncultured. I’d stay chained to my rotary dial phone with the cord just long enough to sit on an arm of the couch, and more often than not have a double batch of chocolate chip cookie dough in my lap on it’s way to the oven. Only about half of it would mysteriously end up as cookies by the time our afternoon conversation was over. I gained the freshman 15 a full six months before I even started college. That’s gotta be a record of some sort.

On a dreary day in October, Dale asked me to go to Bismarck with him so he could check out a few things at the local college. I predictably agreed if only for the sake of getting off the farm and into the city for a few hours, and less than six hours later I was enrolled in Electronics Technology at Bismarck State College. Peer pressure sucks.

But back to my main point, it used to be about figuring what to do on a Saturday night or picking those classes with the easy teachers. But somehow things have taken a dive into the grotesquely adult and mature. We’re one year from our 10 year high school reunion.

Dale and I get together now a days and talk about financial management, marriage (not to each other, mind you), and staying in shape. Our mountain biking is viewed as a hobby to most people our age, not the life sustaining necessity of sanity and relaxation that it is in every aspect.

I’m not saying we’re old. I’m just saying that my 20/20 hindsight kicked in a lot earlier than I anticipated and now these life related questions are swamping my brain. I have no doubt I’ve made the most of my life thus far. Dale’s doing pretty good for himself as well. I never imagined us still on the farms hauling manure in 2004, but I sure didn’t see this coming either. Sometimes, just sometimes, I gotta step outside the box and take a good, hard look at where I came from, how I got here, and where I’m going. With a little imagination I think I can see 45.

It involves a red Corvette and a 20 year old wife. Life is good.

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The author.Born in the year of the Dragon, the author grudgingly accepts the fact he has too many interests and not enough time. A cyclist as long as he can remember, an avid yet inconsistent writer since age eleven, and a U.S. Marine since age twenty-one, the author also adds peak bagging, diving, snowboarding, and computers to his list of interests. Incidentally, he is aware of his inability to make a living from any but the Corps. The author accepts this as fact and remains optimistic. Feel free to drop him a line.

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