Sand in my Shoes

Just back from my 24 hours in the Saugatuck Dunes state park reconnecting with my class and team mates from St. Augustine H.S.’s class of 1968. And, as was always the case, when I took my shoes off just now, there was sand. Back in the day, there was sand in the locker room, sand on the gym floor, some say even in the food. I’d come home to Chicago for holidays and summer and my mom would complain about sand in the washing machine. It was a constant presence and reminder of that idyllic place on the other side of Lake Michigan.
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Reconnecting with guys I hadn’t seen since the day we graduated, people who stood up in my wedding, and the few who have stayed intermittently close over the last four decades was a lot like that sand: always there in varying degrees and turning up in the darnedest places and at unexpected times. Hair has changed color and disappeared, weight has come and gone (mostly come!), and eyeglasses are now part of everyone’s wardrobe. Except for 1/2 a brick a sharp eyed classmate spotted, our brand spanking new school and dorms are demolished and gone. The “old” building that we thought would dry up and blow away in time has been lovingly restored. The 600+ acres of dunes and Lake Michigan shoreline we had all to ourselves are now a state park. Yet it was like we had just rolled out of bed in the dorm, finished prayers in chapel, or completed our “house job” for the day (everybody had an assigned daily chore) and were released from evening study hall. A word, a phrase, a line from a song, a synapse fires igniting a chain reaction. Someone starts a name, a sentence or a story and another finishes it. Sand!

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