Back in grammar school, we had a nightly game of hide and seek that went on all summer.
I can close my eyes and hear childish laughter as someone sprints toward home base.
Naive little me thought those childhood games would last and last. I remember imagining myself as a 20-year-old with long legs, able to jump over the fence surrounding home base, otherwise known as the Turchetta family’s back porch.
The grownup games never happened. We kids grew up and spread to the Four Directions.
It’s been odd, getting older and losing touch with people who used to mean so much. The good thing is the vast majority of the separations were because of life, not death.
Chuck got married; one Jeff moved to California; another Jeff moved to Michigan; a third Jeff went to Costa Rica; Jason was in the bank business in Birmingham the last I heard; and the Turchettas moved to Ohio and back. I don’t have a clue about the Brazeltons.
Lucky for us, life isn’t all about leaving. This past weekend, I enjoyed a reunion.
In my early 20s, I moved into an apartment complex. My neighbors were Kevin Gramelspacher and Jay Bell, who now lives in “Bradenton-fun-in-the-sun-baby-Florida.”
Jay underwent a long, tedious medical procedure a few months ago, and realized he didn’t have anything to look forward to while the doctor poked around inside him. He got busy and planned a camping trip with Kevin and me.
We slept in a tent, cooked our food over a fire and complained about the young lady who advised us to take the hilly Blue Trail, rather than the more gentle Red Trail.
“My legs are all wiggly-woggly,” Jay Bell said.
“Don’t be a baby, Jay Bell,” Kevin said.
“Air. Need air,” I said.
The trip and the face-to-face contact were good for our souls, and we all returned home feeling a little better about life than when we’d left.
Then I returned to work on Monday to learn of another separation.
Lawrence Stanley’s term on the Tupelo Coliseum Commission came to an end. I’ll see him around town, but I’ll miss the regular contact. He’s a gentleman through and through.
We’ve also had some separations at the Mighty Daily Journal.
Scott Burden took a different job, then Christie McNeal took ill, though I doubt the two are related. In addition, another co-worker, who prefers anonymity, recently retired.
We expect Christie back when she’s ready, and the others will be around somewhere, sometime. At least, they’re closer than my friend John Cummins, who’s serving his country oversees. He’s in my prayers.
On the flip side, Julian Carroll made it safely to home base after his stay in the wilds of Afghanistan.
Thanks for your service, Jules, and thanks for your family’s sacrifice, too. I hope your reunion is sweet and long-lasting.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal