Sometimes you just gotta go back home.

I did just that the other day.  I wound up in my hometown of Columbus, NC (more commonly known by the neighboring Tryon, NC).  I went with a purpose.

I went to cancel a venue and reclaim my deposit check due a location change.  Sure, I could’ve called the place holding my deposit and let them know the space was no longer needed.  That would’ve been the easy thing.  However, I’ve learned in life that face to face contact with folks is important.  Therefore, since they were considerate enough to give me leeway to cancel, I felt it was important to do it face to face.

My second purpose was to intentionally go and personally invite a former classmate to our reunion.  I wanted to make sure he knew.  Again, I had an address for him and  easily sent an invitation.  Why the personal invitation?  Why not?  I knew precisely where he worked and it was not out of my way.  Besides, sometimes seeing a familiar face and receiving a more personal invitation makes you know your presence is welcome and wanted.

After taking care of the two main priorities, I decided to go make another appearance in an attempt to reconnect with an old classmate.  The particular classmate lived in our neighborhood and just so happens that his mom still lives in the same house.

But first, I had to drive by my old house.  I do this each time I go to Columbus.  The drive-by.  So much has changed in the neighborhood.  Quite a few more houses.  Our house looks about the same.  The driveway….ah, yes the driveway still long and steep.  I actually had two accidents on that driveway.  One on my shiny, brand new 10 speed bicycle.  The other, in my little 1982 Honda Accord and I wasn’t even in the car.  I failed to get the car over the lip on car port.  Left the car in neutral because I was running in to grab stuff then run back out.  When I got out the car had left its spot, rolled down the driveway and the bumper hit a tree.  Funny part was, the bumper hit in the dead center, so it looked like a big “V” in the back.

Luckily, Ms. Barbara was home.  She didn’t recognize me at first.  I was afraid to ask and maybe I just didn’t want to know.  At any rate, we visited for a while and I learned that my former classmate and friend is doing well which made my heart happy.  I told her we were doing a 30 year class reunion and told her frankly, “I’m sure he won’t come.  I just want to make sure he knows, just in case.”

Why in the world when I usually take a more positive view would I even be somewhat negative?

I knew my friend didn’t have the best experience in high school.  My friend was taunted by others, some who even pretended to be his friend. .  He was made fun of, mainly because he was different.  He was different. He was highly intelligent He was different because when all the rest of us were out having fun, romping around, hanging out, partying.  He was at home.  Not only because he made a choice not to do those things, but also because he was always working.  His dad made him work.  Doing odd jobs around the house was a constant.  Mowing his yard.  He worked while we played and that made him different.  That made him an outcast.

I really hope I get to see my friend one day.  I doubt it will ever be at a class reunion and honestly, I don’t blame him.  I get it.  I saw his hurt.  Although, he tried to pretend it didn’t bother him it did.  Also, as a parent I’ve watching and seen the same thing to happen to a couple of my children. Sad, but true, they’ll probably never go to their high school reunions either.

You see, driving by my old house and looking at the changes are always exciting but some things don’t change, just like that driveway.  Steep and long.  Words can have a powerful effect on folks.  The hurt can be steep and the pain can be long. It’s why we need to choose our words carefully and wisely.  Once spoken they can never be taken back.  “Words can inspire. And words can destroy.  Choose yours well.”  Robin Sharma

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