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Older and wiser – and wider

Janet Urquhart

There’s nothing like the prospect of a gathering with high school friends I haven’t seen in at least a decade to make me wish I’d actually stuck to that diet I started three months ago.Oh well.This won’t be an official high school reunion (I never get invited to those), but rather a gathering of people who used to hang out together, prompted mainly by my grudging consent to make a trip back to the Midwest. Hopefully, I won’t be the only one who has gained a few pounds, since almost everyone else has been trapped in the Dairy State for most of their lives. I left before I got too wide to fit through the exit; now I have to wedge my way back in.Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and where they’re at in their lives, even if it means revealing where I’m at in mine.Rather than bring along our families, we’ve been instructed to simply bring photos. When everyone else is passing around pictures of their children, I’ll be showing off of a snapshot of a bamboo plant – the only other living thing in my apartment, unless you count the recent influx of earwigs into my humble abode.Speaking of humble, there’s no place like my home. I was also told to bring along photos of my apartment. Yeah, right.I know I will be the only one in the bunch who has never, in her life, actually owned a home, but I definitely won’t tell them how close I came to winning the privilege of buying a 388-square-foot studio for, like, a hundred grand. They’ve all had 20-plus years to forget that I was the weird one and I’d like to keep it that way.Still, I was tempted to zip up Red Mountain yesterday and snap a photo of one of those mega-mansions to claim as my own, until it occurred to me they’d all start talking about paying me a visit, and I don’t really have 10 bedrooms.The truth is, I don’t actually care that I don’t have a house in the ‘burbs and a two-car garage, or even two cars. Or a garage. I have five pairs of skis and at least as many fly rods, and I actually get to use them – a lot.I’ve selected a handful of photos of my life that bear no resemblance to the standard parental wallet fare of gapped-tooth, freckled kids who are growing into strapping young men and comely lasses.Instead, there’s me, casting in a mountain stream, standing on a mountaintop, cresting Maroon Pass and riding my mountain bike through a meadow of wildflowers. I’m as proud of those images as my friends are likely to be of their family photos.I suspect all of us have led very different lives. We may share very little in common these days – in some cases, we haven’t even spoken in years – but I expect the laughs and camaraderie to come easily. The friendships you have at 15 never need rekindling, because they never really die. At least Janet Urquhart doesn’t look as geeky as she did in 1978. Her e-mail is janet@aspentimes.com