Sometimes, as the deadline approaches, a columnist feels fortunate to have even one topic in mind. This week, I have identified at least five possibilities, and none will be valid by this time next week.
That is definitely not fortunate. I could use a month’s worth of column ideas right now.
So, let’s see. Which one shall I choose?
Daylight-saving time, which arrives Sunday morning? Let’s just say, remember to “fall back.”
Or maybe something about Halloween? I have some thoughts, but it’s a day too late by now. Trick or treat has come and gone, and Halloween is so… well, so yesterday.
Then, Tuesday will be election day, and even though it’s an “off year,” the issues are important.
Perhaps I could write about the abrupt cold spell we’re experiencing this week. Perhaps you will recall that on Sunday, the high temperature in Brownwood was a balmy 82 degrees. But no, everybody is talking about the weather.
This week’s freezing conditions remind us that autumn — and perhaps even a touch of winter — has indeed arrived. Autumn means football, and football means school homecomings, whether it’s for your high school, college, or both.
That brings me to Topic No. 5.
Most high schools in our area have already held their celebrations, but this is the weekend when Howard Payne University alumni will find their way back to their alma mater. That’s Latin for where you went to school, or so I’m told.
A busy schedule has been planned for former Howard Payne students who will be back on campus throughout today and Saturday. Thanks to modern communications but especially social media, former classmates have a much easier time keeping in touch. Online friendships actually make seeing each other again even more enjoyable.
Living in Brownwood, I don’t have to venture far from my physical domicile to “come home” to my former university. High school is a different situation, however. That homecoming involves a trip of almost 550 miles, one way. I went there in 2018 because it was a special anniversary year for me, and in doing so I was forced to miss Howard Payne’s activities.
I vowed to be on campus at Howard Payne this year, even though it means my wife will miss one of her milestone anniversary year’s homecomings at her high school 200 miles away. By coincidence, both of her alma maters scheduled their homecomings on the same weekend — which is what happened to me a year ago.
Through the decades, I’ve found it curious that many ex-students attending homecomings are from distant places. While they can’t come back every year, many are faithful in attending often, even though it means lengthy trips. By contrast, many local exes sometimes don’t seem to be as interested.
At my high school reunion last year, my best friend at school — who was also a neighbor — and I found that we are both people watchers. We came to the conclusion, almost at the same time, that at our 10-year reunion, everyone was talking about their current jobs. I was proud then of being the Bulletin’s editor.
At our 20-year reunion, people were talking about their children. I had a couple to brag about myself.
At our 30-year reunion, some people were obviously looking for romantic opportunities after recent divorces. We had no interest in pursuing that.
At our 40-year reunion, people were sharing photos of their grandchildren. I was still waiting for my first grandchild.
And at our 50-year reunion, we observed that people were talking about their latest surgeries. We both had several stories to offer there.
My graduating class at Howard Payne is still a few years shy of its 50th anniversary, but we were on campus when this year’s crop of golden grads got their diplomas. Whether it’s 50 years, or a few years more or less, it sounds like a long time. I suppose it is.
Time does pass quickly, but when friends of longstanding get together, time stands still.
Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.