They were old acquaintances. High school days seemed so distant, but that is where it all started if the truth be told. They hadn’t even had much interaction with each other in those carefree days, given he was a senior when she was a sophomore, but they were aware of each other. They certainly noticed each other. Quietly noticed each other. You see, regardless of outward appearances of confidence, both of them carried their own sense of inadequacy and actual shyness in some cases. Both of them were involved in the music program. They were musicians and they were around each other on a fairly regular basis… but never seemingly in the same circle of acquaintances that would have them draw close to each other the way they both secretly desired. Maybe it was simply the way it was supposed to be; but maybe not. Maybe it was merely a matter of proper timing. Maybe it was merely a matter of time. In the grand scheme of things, how do you quantify time? What is a long time? Is a week a long time? Is a year a long time? Is 30 years a long time? For them, 30 years was perfect time. One might describe it as serendipity. It is a unique word to grasp but mankind is indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that ‘this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word.’ Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of ‘a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of….’
The occasion was surrounding events of a high school homecoming weekend, an American tradition that everyone ought to take advantage of once in a while. When the email went out to all of the school alumni, including Sam and Kate, who after all these years were separated by a couple thousand miles, it told of events that would bring old friends “home” from all across the country, and given most people’s hectic schedules in daily life it would be a nostalgic trip to by-gone days of youth and carefree times. It would be fun to see all the changes and expansion to the school that were phased-in over the years! The festivities would begin on Thursday when there would be the usual parade down the main street of the city, ending at the football field where memories of countless football games and halftime shows had been performed for nearly 100 years. There would be a “Thuse” for every team fan that would be led by the Alumni Band, followed by an introduction of the football team and coaches. Afterwards everyone was invited to a small club called Logan’s out near the lake where they could catch-up with old friends, imbibe, and dance to the oldies. What the heck, they thought! It might be a blast to see some old chums and see how life was treating them. On Friday night there would be the Homecoming Football Game under the lights in a very new stadium. Gone were the days of boys racing up and down a field of grass and mud. No longer were all the yard lines and boundary lines spread on the field with white powdered lime from a spreader before every game. In the intervening three decades since they last set foot on the field money had been raised to transform the venue into a top-notch sports facility. Comfortable stadium seating was a huge improvement over splintery wooden bleachers. Tons of light flooded the entire stadium. Astroturf provided a thick carpet for the game to be conducted upon. Painted field lines demarked the field to the point it looked like a professional gridiron and padded goal posts replaced the old H-beam steel pipe uprights.
Sam was still living in town and was certainly up for a mini-reunion of sorts. He had built up a small business and had several professionals working under his leadership. He could be at ease in a suit and tie or in hiking or backpacking gear. He tolerates the former; he’s more at home in the latter. Heredity and age had taken an unkind toll on his once full head of hair, but he jokingly says he had beaten most of it off his noggin’ on his many adventures as he charges head first into the unknown! Very active in the community, he is still in touch with many of his childhood friends living in the area.
At 5 feet eleven inches tall and 175 pounds he was in pretty good shape for his age. He always griped about those pesky five or ten pounds that seemed to constantly chase him since the age of 40, but made a point of staying physically active. He was never crazy about formal exercise but made attempts to stay fairly trim by riding his mountain bike two or three times a week, as the weather permits at lunch. The rail trails intersected in front of his office building and provided a convenient opportunity for easy access. He could bike 10 miles in 50 minutes and be back at his desk to begin his afternoon.
Sam is an adventurer at heart. He loves discovery. It didn’t matter “what” he discovered, as long as he was on an adventure. His adventures had taken him to many unique and sometimes exotic places. Every couple years he and some friends would head out for an Adirondack or Canadian canoe portage trip for a week or so. It would be them fending for themselves in the outdoors regardless of what nature threw at them. Another time, Africa had captured his heart and he spent a month on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert with a medical mission team building a mini-hospital in a very impoverished area of the bush. At the age of 40 he had decided to go back to earn a master’s degree and studied for a period of time in Europe. He loved to learn and he loved to immerse himself in the culture of a place. He had twice hiked through part of the Montana Rocky Mountains hunting black bear. He was passionate about steelhead trout fishing and was always thrilled with a raging fight on his hands trying to land a 15 pounder out of swift and icy waters. At one time he shot competitive sporting clays and skeet in his region and rallied to the challenge of going one-on-one against another shooter for 100 shots; often winning or losing by a single target.
Thanks to ham radio Sam had met people from around the globe, engaging with them in exciting conversation. On the historic day that the Berlin Wall was torn down in November 1989, he spoke to an East German man for an hour as the man described with a choking voice through the airwaves how freedom seemed foreign to him, since oppression was all he had ever known growing up in the eastern bloc. That brief on-air friendship earned Sam a special prize, when two weeks later an envelope arrived in the mail with several small, crumbled pieces from the now broken down barrier that had separated the east from the west during decades of Cold War posturing by super powers. The East German had sent him pieces of the Berlin Wall in appreciation for the conversation on a special day of victory in his life.
It was things like these that motivate and excite Sam. He didn’t simply want to “be”… he wanted to “live!” He sought adventure around every corner and would wring it dry for all it was worth.
It had been a very long time since Kate had even thought about high school! Back then she was a tall girl and always attracted to slim, tall boys. She always sported a great body. God had done some of His best work when he knit her together. She was stunning, simply put. She had auditioned and became part of the dance line in the high school band. They had been known all around as one of the top-notch marching machines and had the trophy case to prove it. They worked hard and were committed to excellence. Anything less than First Place was unacceptable. Every member felt that way.
Kate became a member of the 20-member dance line in addition to a ten-member majorette line. This was a very large 325-piece marching band that could carry a Rockette style dance line. So they did. It was a show stopper. Every section of the band was excellent and could perform a feature selection if they needed to. The band director’s sister had studied professional choreography in New York City and especially Rockette style choreography. She became the quintessential drill sergeant and leader for the thirty girl dance line. And the girls were hot! Tasteful in their performance, but hot, nonetheless. At that time in the late 1970’s, in this small town, the contribution that stylish woman made to the girls in the line was sophisticated, entertaining and nothing less than professional dance education. To the girl! These kids worked hard hour after hour, day after day and week after week. Months at a time. And it paid off in spades. In terms of education, they learned teamwork, cooperation, sacrifice, work ethic, blood, sweat, tears, compassion, competition, respect for others, respect for self, motivation, endurance and so much more. Never did a girl leave that dance line unchanged from the way she entered.
After graduation, she had immediately attended the local university, but after two years of filling in core curriculum still really didn’t know what she wanted to major in, so took some time off from school to travel. Life took many twists and turns, and ultimately Kate left her hometown to pursue her dreams of metropolitan living, artistic educational pursuits, travel and adventure. She had attended several prestigious art programs receiving two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from three universities. Her artwork was on display and she enjoyed a following on her art website. Later she joined a large high-tech company as a contract negotiator and moved from Chicago to Las Vegas. She loves the area and has created a wonderful home that she shares with her playful dog. They often spend hours cavorting at a favorite local lake on the weekend refreshing them both in body and spirit.
At five foot ten inches tall, Kate’s athletic build and healthy look are accentuated by her shoulder length light brown hair with a slight auburn tint that set off her stunning Irish hazel eyes. She has an absolutely alluring and sensuous natural facial gaze that can melt the stony heart of a man to molten matter. Physically and emotionally strong, her inner strength of character manifests itself in her subtle and sexy physique. By day, at the office she favors simple and basic earth tones with tasteful accents of small pearl earrings accompanied by gold, silver or copper bracelets. In contrast, on special evenings she can just as easily play the sultry vixen, preferring black fishnet stockings and a lacy black camisole, sans undergarments for ease of access for her lover to explore a paradise of pleasure. Kate loved the slow, gradual build-up toward an evening of passion. She knows it is the little things she does that peaks a man’s arousal. Watching the face of her lover as he reaches the summit of his joy, and then joining with him as he melts down in a huge release of energy feeds her natural excitement. Knowing that life is precious and fleeting she flies fearlessly and boldly in her personal search for a deep connection with a kindred spirit.
Little does she realize as she fills in the blanks to register for the Homecoming weekend that as soon as she places her tongue on the stamp and drops the letter in the mailbox that she is on an intercept course with someone she had always wondered about in her youth and wondered about very differently now that she is a mature woman. Some might say it is kismet. Others might say it is mere luck. Kate will soon discover it was well worth the wait.