Recently I ran into a friend here in Santa Barbara. He asked if I had plans for a vacation this year and I told him I was going to my home town for a reunion. He said, ‘But didn’t you go there a couple of years ago for a reunion?
Yes, I did about three years ago but that was a friend’s reunion. Kids I grew up with wanted to get together so one of them who still lives there said, “Lets do it at my house.” For six months we planned. Notifications were easy because of the internet. We already had a network of friends names, e-mail addresses and people who knew how to get in touch with others. All in all we had close to 70 people show up at Kip and Jill Holloway’s home.
We left nothing to chance. We planned food. We had a Santa Maria tri tip lunch — tri tip is a big thing in Southern California. Fantastic beef, tender and juicy. We had homemade chilli, French bread and salad. We ended up having to supplement the meal with barbecue chicken breast because we had so many hungry people.
People have never understood why we have this closeness, why we love this valley so much. Why, when we see pictures of Mt Begbie we are near to tears. Why we stay in touch. Why we go to every reunion we can in Revelstoke.
Not everyone can make it, but that’s ok — we do have so many that do make it. We were the war babies born in the Forties, raised in a town that was isolated. We did not care, we made our own fun. No one locked their homes. You could water your lawn all night long. Turn on your cold water tap, wait a few minutes and drink the finest cold water in the world.
After this reunion that went so well we lost three dear friends: Bing Gunnarsen, Peter Grauer and Terry King. The reunion for me was made because my friends and I got to see all three of them for the last time. We didn’t know it was the last time, but such is life.
At this reunion we will meet again. This time to pay tribute to those that passed before us. Gone but not forgotten, this will not be a wake. It will be a salute to so many that we miss so dearly. I have a list of 16 of them and I am sure I will be adding names that perhaps my 72-year-old memory just did not recall.
We will toast to them and then to ourselves. Life means so much more when you celebrate with friends.
Terry M Staten,
Santa Barbara, California