COLUMN: Another reunion brings updates

Farm Forum

I just attended my high school reunion. The year is insignificant because you don’t count them anymore after such a long time. Suffice it to say we are getting very long in the tooth.

It was fun to meet old friends and renew old friendships. It was quite a revelation to see how some had aged, so I went home and looked in the mirror and sure enough that aging process included me.

Can’t be, I’m not as old as these old codgers? But some were just ageless, and had entered our twilight years way ahead of most of the classmates because they had escaped shortcomings of the body, and age seemed to have slipped by them. There were especially two girls who still held their beauty well, and it was fun to bang their ear to discover how in the world they managed to maintain such everlasting youth.

As you might suspect, the topic usually discussed was our health. There was lots of discussion about medical procedures we had gone through and of course the list of medicines we are taking made for very long conversations.

There were some very unique former occupations. And some of these elderly people so loved what they have been doing all of their life that they refuse to succumb to retirement and are still going to work every day.

One such couple was memorable. Cherie (Brooks) Reilly and her husband, Mike Reilly, own and operate a small farm near Pittsburgh. They grow pumpkins — acres and acres of pumpkins. They also offer hayrack rides through their wooded farm to the pumpkin patches, where youngsters can pick their own pumpkin. They also have a corn maze, a petting zoo, amusement rides, and during the Christmas season, they offer hayrack rides out to pick out a Christmas tree.

Now if this sounds rather innocuous, it is not. They have thousands of people come to their farm each weekend, and they must employ parking attendants to park the automobiles that come to their farm throughout the fall.

Back to our reunion. One of the most significant events of the weekend was walking through the pictures of classmates who have left. Wow, that is astounding. We have lost 75 classmates over the past decades. That is profound and certainly sad for sure and makes it rather evident that God is fishing in our pond now!

So, we enjoyed the fellowship with those old classmates we spent so much time with a long, long time ago.

I was handed the microphone and went around the room asking each to make a few comments to their fellow classmates. Some were very interesting and had done some profound activities that captivated the entire crowd’s interest.

Ann (Hasse) Nelson and her husband, Stan, had ridden across the U.S.A., dipping their bicycle wheels in the Pacific Ocean in Puget Sound near Seattle, rode the highways and byways for the next 66 days and finally dipped their wheels in the Atlantic Ocean in the state of Maine. Ann also runs marathon, culminating with running the famous Boston Marathon at the age of 60. She has run many other marathons.

Classmate Burt Bomhoff gave a wonderful narrative of life in Alaska and his exciting experiences participating in the sled dog race in Alaska called the Idita

rod. His stories captivated us.

‘Nuff said.

Gerald “Jerry” Krueger is a retired educator, coach, commercial pilot and farmer. Write him at His column publishes Mondays.