Donny is making sure that everything goes right with his new job. His last one was less than stellar, which was surprising seeing that he came out of a good school and could have gotten any job that he wanted. It’s funny when you see things like that, makes you feel pretty good about yourself, since your own job is only so-so, you didn’t come out of a good school so that’s the way it goes. Of course, you never really see him doing anything with the old gang since he lives so far away. He probably has a whole new life that he couldn’t even begin to explain to anybody the proper functioning of. Terry wouldn’t have asked him about the way that he still snow boarded a lot, even after the recession, had she not known that he probably did. It seemed pretty obvious that Donny was going to be one of those guys who would always snowboard, as long as his knees didn’t give out on him which a lot of the time people’s knees did. I guess it’s not really our job to predict what will become of our friends. Sure, we worry about them, but what are we going to do about them. If I were to tell Donny to do this or to do that, he wouldn’t really know how to take my advice because he doesn’t really know me that well anymore. We all change so much over the course of the years so that to talk to someone is sort of like taking a shot in the dark as they say. What are the odds that my vantage point will even be anything close to one that the new person would respect? Not likely. It’s not like we could all still be at school together or on the same job together. Like, what is the story with Tre’ who moved to South Carolina. He was always scared of the south, or at least he said, racist, “they’d kill you down there.” But then he got that job with that communications company and the next thing you know he’s going to Panther games and playing golf. Fear keeps us all down. I hope he makes it. I’m sure he will. Why wouldn’t he? See, I take up the worry for him even after he lost it. That was where we were at when I last saw him and I guess that’s where we will always be. Haven’t seen him in awhile so how would I know how he really is? Mary is having her second baby. That relationship with Tre’ was always the oddest thing. I always thought that they would make it. Went out for four whole years, but sometimes the black/white thing doesn’t work out. Still four years is still pretty good. They were going to have babies together and Tre’ was going to be a sportscaster, but he didn’t. You never know though, he might still end up being one. He is in communications. But he strayed and then she revenge strayed and you know how that sort of thing goes. Always a failure. You can’t hurt someone else to bring them back to you. Mary told me once that she thought that the world was like a vampire, it sucks the life out of you just when you think it’s the greatest thing. I guess she meant that vampires are handsome then they bite. I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, I guess. She found Clay not six months after Tre’ and she broke up and he was the right kind of guy for her, a cop even, perfect for a girl who was really insecure. She’d make it a better world if she could, become a peace activist or save the whales, but she just raised babies with Clay now and what do you know, they got another on the way. The way things change. April will make it one day, that’s for sure, Smart as a whip. She’d sing songs to her boyfriend asking him for his opinion and he told me one time that he couldn’t take it anymore. He said she was good, but she was too good. The fact that she really could make it in Hollywood made it hard for him to trust the relationship. Why? I asked. It was obvious. Because compared to what she would become he would be a shlep. He would always be a shlep. They were both medical students then and she never stopped and she never went to Hollywood and they’re happy now, but I wonder about it a lot. Will she someday have to just leave and chase her dream? I couldn’t see how she could just stop all that like that, just for a guy, but she did. Still, she was always smart. What I mean by “make it” is that she will make it in the way that she always dreamed of making it, life as a really good thing and happiness as a standard thing, no regret. She’ll make it even though she will never be Brittney Spears or whoever she used to want to be. Tom, on the other hand was like this lost cause after he didn’t make it as a catcher in the big leagues. He became a P.E. coach, but his wife Beth who I got to know a little while later when Tom foisted her on all of us like a consolation prize for not making it in the big leagues always seems a little upset, not upset, I would say, but a little disappointed, like the guy she married was the baseball star and the guy she got was the middle school P.E. coach. Not that that’s a bad thing to be. They have a kid now, a baby boy, and he dresses him up in Yankee caps. He’s a big Yankee fan even though he’s from Baltimore. Go figure. Anyway, they’re going to make it too, but you can’t help being a little saddened when you start to sense the luster coming off of somebody else’s American dream. Clliff never let that happen. He went on to actually work at NASA after getting out of the Army. He was some sort of electronics specialist of some sort and now he’s a full on electrical engineer pulling down two hundred grand a year I figure even though I’ve never really asked him. He says that he is a robust example of the superiority of the American dream. His words. He came from a really poor family. I didn’t know him back then, but he said that he would share bowls of soup with his siblings and have to go without heat in the wintertime. Luckily, he grew up in Arizona so that wasn’t such a bad thing. The last time Cliff had anything to really add to our sense of community he showed up at a wedding between Tammi and Dave in a clown suit. This was an inside joke between he and Dave that they said came about after a night of heavy drinking. Whatever that was. It was funny. After that he was mostly all business and now it’s obvious. You point to him in conversations whenever you want to keep it light and happy. Still a bachelor. Living in a highrise apartment overlooking the ocean in Miami. Envy there, boy. Big time envy and always good for a smile, Cliff. I wonder if it was real. Always so happy. Probably. Not like Karen who fell off of a bridge in Alabama. It wasn’t that high, but it was high enough for everybody to worry about her. She landed good and a little bad so that now her spine is a little whacked. She got lucky. She was horsing around with the kids and boom. Over she went. She said that she thought one of them was going over and she ran as fast as she could. The kid had climbed to the other side of the rail and when she got there she tripped and plop. Over she went, landing in a dried out creek. Such tragedy. She’s lucky she’s alive. Karen was always the slow one and now this. She wasn’t slow in that she was slow physically, but slow mentally. Glasses. You know, not cool, whatever. Too bad. It makes me think of my own family, our own tragedies. The way that my aunt got sick with some disease I can’t even pronounce the name of. The way that Dolly, who was my mother’s other sister, died in a car crash when she was 21. Can you imagine dying at 21? What a shame. I’ve been lucky in my life. No major tragedies. Ken was lost in a snowstorm for a week when he went to Montana. One of his fingers got frostbite and he had to get it cut off. Always the adventurer Ken was, but that sort of thing makes you re-think things. Now he’s a dentist. Can do it even without that fingertip. You can make do with anything. People learn to write with their feet when they lose their hands. Abby was going along fine and then she got divorced. Big change. Sudden and real and the next thing you knew she wasn’t Abby anymore, but that single mom who needed help and what could you really do? She never needed help before. She would never have told you that she needed help but you can tell these things just by their tone. Who could ever really hide anything from anybody anymore? We all seem to be getting really really smart. They talk about the hive mind. Doesn’t everything seem to be like that? We all seem to know so much about what other people are feeling. Our responses seem to be so obvious that we almost feel that we don’t need to respond. Just go and look it up in the book! It’s there. The way that we are. Punch in the code, stay silent, and your response will be registered and duly noted. I guess that comes from just seeing so much of each other. We all know everything. We are all extremely wise and knowing. It’s too bad too. As we grow up and learn more and more about each other the bad comes up with the good until we’re thinking about people like Karen and what it must have felt like falling off that bridge. Not good, I suppose. I knew what Karen was thinking. She was thinking “is this really what my life has come to?” She had a couple of seconds to think that and that’s probably what she thought. What a letdown that something so stupid would be the cause of the ending of her life. Thank God she was okay, that’s all I have to say. When Freddy got that job working on those telephone poles in Boston we all thought he was crazy. He could have become a Karen any second every day of his working week, but so far so good. Sometimes everybody just looks at him and sees that smile and wonders how that smile could be attached to someone who goes up into snow and icy poles in the dead of winter, but there it is. Not a bad luck kind of guy. He’s keeping up a good face on the whole divorce thing. Amber said something about Freddy that I thought was cool. She said “anybody as crazy as that deserves to be as happy as Freddy seems.” True. Someone puts their life on the line so that you can watch T.V. or whatever deserves all the benefits in the world, all of them, not just the financial ones. He deserves a happy marriage, money and an innate ability to smile through any hardship. Others, like Craig, or Tony or even Renee would just as soon give it all up on the first curveball thrown at them by life. They were always slightly downward smiled. I don’t know if that’s a phrase, but it describes them. You know the type, a little bit of something too serious in their eyes. Everybody understands what I’m saying. Not a lot of friends. Renee seems to be okay, though. She’s back with her family after the trouble she had in Kansas with her ex-husband. He beat her. She never talks about that, but everybody got that feeling from her. It was in the hatred that she seemed to talk about. Not so good. And Tony was just serious from the get-go, a philosophy major. Not many people would give Tony much of their attention in the real world because he didn’t want it. He’s doing pottery or something, but I don’t hear from him much. Something like two years have gone by since he gave up the job in the billing department of that department store chain. He spent ten years there. Can you imagine? A philosophy major in the billing department of a major corporation. Enough to drive you batty, I would think. He said that Thoreau said it was better to sit on a pumpkin then to sit on a throne if you’re not happy. So he started making ceramic pumpkins, I guess, and sat on them and I suppose that it made him happy. One of those down mouthers who were able to graduate up to being a straight horizontal lipper, or something. Whatever the proper thing to say is about someone wwho probably just doesn’t know what it means to be happy. Doesn’t have the equipment. Maybe from childhood. Maybe I’m the same way. Can’t be happy. I feel like I can be, but then again, I don’t know. I haven’t talked to anybody in years, not really, not even on the phone. I’m glad that we can keep in touch though. I’m glad that I’m still a part of their lives. Sometimes I get lonely, I guess. The past is the past and you should let it go. Most of them are becoming like little cartoon characters though and it disturbs me a little bit. I sometimes think that maybe we should all have a reunion, but in the meantime I’ll take what I can get. But now I’ve gotta go. I’ll check in with my friends later after I get back from helping mama.