Ed always says to me, "We gotta do this stuff while we can. You never know when we all might get that phone call because one of us has gone."
Ed's right. We gotta do this stuff while we can.
This stuff has been a lot of stuff over the last ten years involving a variety of graduates from the KHS Class of '72: All-class reunion in 2000, again in 2010, 30 year reunion in 2002 (I didn't make it: Adrienne's wedding), celebrating turning 50 at Quinn Resort (I didn't make it: Molly got burned), celebrating 55 year birthdays at Lincoln City, a President's Day weekend at Diane's, a June get together in 2009, a Christmas time party at Sharon's, the reunion of the the classes of the early 70's in 2007, and there's more to come.
For a few years, Scott had his boat docked near the Cedars Floating Restaurant and a bunch of us classmates would jump on his boat and go out on Coeur d'Alene Lake.
Sometimes Scott could manage to get one of these afternoons on the lake going when I was up in Kellogg visiting, but one time a bunch of my friends were going to get together in early September and I'd already been to Kellogg to visit my mom and see family and friends.
Well, I thought of what Ed said, "We gotta do this stuff while we can. You never know when we all might get that phone call because one of us has gone."
Mostly I thought about the first sentence: "We gotta do this stuff while we can."
So, I had said to hell with it. I'm going to drive on Friday from Eugene to Kellogg so I can go on the boat ride on Saturday.
I drove over 500 miles for a boat ride.
Nothing spectacular happened.
We got out in a spot away from other boaters and several people went swimming.
We told stories.
We went to the Carlin Bay resort for burgers and buckets of Derailers, a rum-based punch served with multiple long straws so several of us could share a bucket at one time.
The food was slow to come out.
It didn't matter.
The stories, the wise-ass remarks, the laughter, the looking back and looking ahead made the passing of time irrelevant.
So did the Derailers.
When we arrived back where Scott's boat rests on the other side of the lake, we all hugged or shook hands and went our separate ways.
Jake, Ed, Bruce, Scott and I thought it would be fun to come back to the boat in the winter and play some poker.
We did that.
We watched "The Wild Wild West" and "The Outer Limits" dvd's on a computer screen, some of us chewed tobacco, and in the back of our minds thought we gotta do this stuff while we can.
Scott's boat is on Pend Oreille Lake now. Unless he sold it. I can never keep it straight. There's no boat ride this summer.
But, there'll be a visit to see Mike Stafford as he recovers from cancer surgery; some of us will see each other at Thanksgiving, I hope; Christmas is up in the air; plans for another Lincoln City trip are in the works, test balloons are being floated.
After all, we gotta do this stuff while we can.