I think I’ve run into more classmates this visit than any other, just by the luck of the draw. It started out with the Class of 1961 and its 50th Reunion. Then, I got a call from frequent contributor Keith Robinson, who said he was in town from Kansas City. (I let him slip away without getting a photo of him, drat.)
Shari Stiver came down from St. Louis over the weekend and she, her mother and I roamed around Cape and Perry Counties in search of interesting things. The low water level on the Mississippi River let us go out on an old quarry south of Tower Rock that is usually covered by eight or 10 feet of water.
Monday, former earth science teacher, ham radio operator, pilot and first teacher I ever called by a first name, Ernie Chiles, and Terry Hopkins from the Class of ’66 shared lunch at Mario’s Pasta House. I didn’t bother to shoot a photo of Ernie because, except for being a bit grayer, he looks just like he did when he was standing in front of a class at Central. You can click on Terry’s photo to make it larger. Terry wrote a touching piece about how important the Capaha Park Pool was to him when he was growing up.
Ernie’s plane is sick
The weather has been great for flying, so I was hoping to refresh my stash of aerials, but Ernie says his plane is down having a carburetor rebuilt. I recall that he was having to play with the mixture a bit on our last flight because the engine kept sputtering.
“I’ve never left anybody up there,” he said, reassuringly.
Reminds me of the time I was flying in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s helicopter and we suddenly dropped like a rock to a not-so-soft landing on the beach. “What was THAT all about, Andy?” I asked the pilot.
“See that red warning light. That detects flakes of metal in the transmission. Sometimes that means nothing. Sometimes that means the thing that keeps that big fan over our head turning is chewing itself to bits. You’re better off if you figure out if it’s something or nothing while sitting on the ground.” We got a ride back in a squad car and the chopper got a ride back on a flatbed truck.
Pat Sommers and I were debate partners. I’ve written about Pat before, much to his chagrin. What you do in high school can come back to haunt you if your friend is a pack rat photographer.
While we were trading war stories about debates won and lost, Pat reminisced about the feeling of power he had when he was waving the gavel around after being elected Speaker of the House when we went to the State Student Congress. (I was elected Outstanding Senator or Representative.)
Central had a showing much stronger than what our numbers would have led you to believe possible. It came about because we put together a coalition of all the smaller schools to challenge the numerical superiority of the metro areas of St. Louis and Kansas City. That, or we just got lucky.
All this socializing is playing the dickens with my work schedule, but it’s been fun catching up with old friends.