Some days just don’t go the way you plan them. That’s why I try not to plan them. I had reserved a retal car starting Friday morning at 10:00, thinking it best to get an early start on the 4-hour drive to Hannibal. I woke up a little after 11:00, and proceeded to coffee myself to full conciousness by around noon. Whenever I sleep later than planned, I tell myself I must have needed that. I’m probably right.

The car rental people, as promised, came to pick me up when I called them. However, they, unlike most businesses, seem to have a hangup with debit cards. In addition to the usual driver’s license and proof of insurance, they wanted proof of employment, and proof that I had a plane ticket back to Phoenix. For the latter, they had to take me back to my son’s house where I’d left my airline printout, then back to the rental place. Finally, after all paperwork was duly noted and copied, and they were reasonably sure I wasn’t a terrorist or car thief, they introduced me to my little red Aveo. It was perfect, red being my favorite color...except for one thing: the gas-door wouldn’t stay closed. That was a problem. I didn’t want to delay even longer while they called in a specialist to perform a gas-door transplant, but I also didn’t want to drive around with my gas-door flapping in the breeze. I knew what would happen-- I’d be driving along, looking cool in my bright redness and drivers on my right would be pointing and yelling Your gas-hole!, and the drivers on my left would mis-understand that and assume I did something wrong. I didn’t want that. Suddenly, I had an idea. I opened the driver’s door and found the little lever that you pull to open the gas door. I pushed it back down. Miraculously, the gas door would now stay closed. The car rental people were amazed and grateful. I drove away.

By about 16:30 I was packed and ready to go. The drive to Hannibal went smoothly enough. Interstate 70 has a speed limit of 70 mph, which means most people do 80. Things slow down when you turn north at Kingdom City (capital of the only county that never officially rejoined the Union after the Civil War), because the highways are 2-lane, and pass through Mexico and other small towns on the way. At New London I join the famous Highway 61 (Bob Dylan wrote and sang a song about it), and cruise on in to Hannibal.

Right there on the highway was my hotel, the Day Sinn. I checked in and received 2 magnetic-card type door keys. When I slid one in the slot, all I got was a little red light and no entry. I tried the other key, then each of them in all possible positions. If this had been sex it would have been good foreplay, but the door, she wasn’t responding.

Finally I walked back to the office. The clerk said maybe my cellphone killed the magnetic strip. He zapped 2 new cards, which I kept far from my phone on the way back. They didn’t work either. On the third try the clerk created keys that let me enter. Perhaps room 133 is sitting atop an electromagnetic vortex that wreaks havoc on modern technology. I was soon to discover more evidence of that.

The inn had promised wireless internet access, and I had counted on having it for some information about the reunion among other things, but though the signal was detected, it would never connect me to the internet.For the moment I was disconnected from the world.

By the time I got ready and reached the Quality Inn out on Highway 36, it was a little after 11:00 pm, some 4 or 5 hours after the designated time for it to start. Yes, I was late to the Ball. I thought sure it would be ongoing til 1 or 2 am, whichever Missouri bar closing is these days, but it seems many of my classmates think they’re too old to stay up late, or else they just got bored. There were just a few sitting and standing around. I was issued my official ID badge.

Reunions are always slightly confusing, the more so as years advance, because not everyone resembles their former selves enough to be sure who they are. The name tags are useful, of course, and no one needs to feel awkward about peering at that first iinstead of their real face, nor by being peered at in return. Some, of course (out of over 250 class membeers) you didn’t know to begin with, so you certainly wouldn’t know them now, but you have to check to find that out, too.

Tomorrow, as Scarlett once said, will be another day, complete with a riverboat ride and a chance to see people in broad daylight.

At the Hannibal Folk Festival, a hammer dulcimer
being skillfully and melodiously played.

Here we all are.

Here are some of us back in 1952.

Clear Creek School, 1954 - 1960.

My red rental Aveo

This reunion featured a riverboat ride on the Mississippi.
Sandy, who had been a classmate at Clear Creek elementary as well as high school, owned and ran the tour boat. It was a beautiful experience. I would have enjoyed traveling down the river all the way to New Orleans if I could.
Hannibal was having a Folk Festival as well, featuring all sorts of traditional crafts, food, and music. I especially enjoyed Carl and his wife both playing the hammered dulcimer, a unique and pleasant musical instrument.

Some flashbacks to the 1989 reunion:
The 1989 25th Reunion Trip

Alvin and I.

The 1989 reunion was the best of all. I rode my Ratster, a uniquely customized Sportster to that one, all the way from Phoenix. It isn't so much where you go, but how you get there that makes a trip worthwhile.