While I struggle to recall who the guests were at birthdays and other celebrations of the past, I can remember a lot of my graduation night. As it occurred 50 years ago this is astounding, but when I think of the amount of liquor I consumed that night, it’s a miracle of memory. I think what made it so memorable was being with people I had known since the age of six from the vaunted Osoyoos Elementary Junior Secondary School.
And so there we were, 19 of us from Osoyoos and I think a larger contingent from Oliver. We attended South Okanagan Secondary School for grades 11 and 12, and for me these were happy years. It was therefore great to see some people I hadn’t seen since the last reunion ten years ago, and at least two people I hadn’t seen for 50 years.
I find it hard to visit with that many people in a few hours though, so I saw a lot of folks and said hi and that was about it. It was held at the lovely Quinta Ferreira Winery in Oliver, out on their front deck looking north to McIntyre Bluff. I don’t drink wine so before leaving home I had the sense to put four ounces of tequila and some mix into a water bottle.
It was lucky I was at the reunion at all, as that morning our friends Jim and Fede met Luke and me and we all headed out in Luke’s boat. Jim made the mistake of attempting to waterski which ended after just two tries as he’d pulled his left buttock muscle and couldn’t walk after that for several days. I was falling over in the boat laughing but eventually I was able to stop it and at least act sad about his injury.
I said I wouldn’t try to ski after that incident, and so Luke said well try the tube, it’s fun. I said sure. As soon as he roared off I almost fell over backwards but managed to stay upright and mostly on the wake which I could handle. However Luke got bored of it and soon did tight loop de loops which would cause the tube to fly at the highest rate of speed perpendicular to the boat, then over the big waves he’d made which caused the tube to bounce three feet up out of the water and whoomp! back down, then a turn in the opposite direction and I’d go flying up alongside the boat, gripping for dear life.
I had a lot of time to ponder dismemberment and death as it was early in the morning and the lake was like glass. Few boats were out so I could enjoy the experience without distractions. I could see at the speeds I was being whipped, if I so much as moved a muscle the wrong way, I’d be flung onto the water and I’d hit as though it was cement.
Fede told me afterward he was saying Luke, that’s your mother, but Luke wasn’t having any of it. When I finally did the cut power signal and got into the boat I said to Luke what the hell are you doing I’m 68 years old, and he just shrugged and said that’s how you tube. End of story.
And so, uninjured I got out the white dress I’d bought in Hawaii and hoped to look both young and thin in it. Failing that, I was hoping the dress would distract people. There was a photographer there taking pictures of various groups so I look forward to getting them.
Several from our grad class have died, so it’ll be interesting to see which of us makes it to the 60th. I certainly won’t be boating the morning of that event, should I still be alive.