By Mel McConaghy
We had a school reunion a few weekends ago, and leading up to it, at 76 years old, I was really getting excited about it.
My wife was amazed that a man my age, who isn’t really concerned about being in style, all of a sudden started worrying about what he was going to wear a week before the event.
This I don’t understand, because when I was going to school, I hated it. So, why was I getting so excited about the reunion then? I wonder. Could it have been that the guy who beat me up in grade three, about half my size now, would be there, and I had planned to spent a considerable amount of time trying to intimidate him by hovering over him by menacingly, hoping that he still remembered that I owe him one? In the end, he proved to have grown up to be a great guy, and we spent so much time reminiscing that I completely forgot my plan to intimidate him.
Was I worked up at the thought of running into that sweet little thing that I had a massive crush on in grade seven at the reunion? The one with the cute little figure, who rejected me with a laugh, but maybe now I could impress with my accomplishments? No. She was still laughing, but not because she had dumped me. It was because she happens to be a very happy, pleasant, pretty older woman with a terrific attitude, whom I failed to impress. I even thought about the intellectual athletes, who would not give me the time of day, much less let me hang out with them. Most of them are now retired business men. I thought the reunion would be my time of reckoning! The day when I would flaunt my accomplishments, spend a great deal of time flicking my hair out of my face, and almost turning blue from holding my paunch in.
But I went to the reunion, and as I met the people from my past, I realized the mental and physical abuse I thought that they were subjecting me to, was a blessing.
It didn’t scar me. Instead, it better prepared me for my life ‘in the real world’. It made me more tolerant, and taught me how to handle situations that helped me be a stronger, more understanding person. I have often thought the time I spent in school was wasted years, but as I get older, I realize that while I learned to read, write, add and subtract, it was the people that I learned with that helped me to succeed in the real world. As I looked around at all the grey hair and canes at the reunion, I realized that all the grudges and malice that I had carried around for years, were of my own making, and I really owed these people a debt of gratitude. Now, with all this said, I went to it, and had a great time reminiscing about our school days with a bunch of great people from my past.
My Life Through a Broken Windshield by Mel McConaghy
Mel McConaghy is a retired trucker and author from Prince George, British Columbia. Mel’s tales are his views of life “through a broken windshield”. They are entertaining and humorous in a folksy style.
Visit Mel’s website at www.melmcconaghy.com