by Thomas Givens
Well, Iím just about reunioned out.
Iíve been to three this year, starting with the Ruleville, Mississippi, reunion, which occurred in May. The first Ruleville reunion I went to happened in the spring of 1993. It was held at the Cleveland (Miss.) Country Club. Not only was there a major snow storm in the Northeast that knocked out all ATMís, but there was some excitement at the CCC.
I get invited to all the Ruleville reunions, for which Iím grateful. This one was for all classes from 1950 to 1960. I knew all these folks. Being from little Linn, I, along with others from our country school, have been adopted by Ruleville.
We all had a great time at that first reunion in í93. Luster Bayless was there, he of John Wayne fame, and a lot of other good friends I had not seen for a while. Then a local law enforcement officer showed up. I had a good visit with him and proceeded to engage in other activities associated with the reunion. Those other activities involved getting overserved.
Billy Britt, former resident of Ruleville and one of my life-long friends and former roommate at Delta State, was staying with me at the Comfort Inn nearby.
We woke up the next morning, wondering how in the world we had arrived back at the Comfort Inn without having been involved in an accident or arrested. Well, all we had to do was pick up a newspaper. The law enforcement officer, mentioned above, had led the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Bolivar County Sheriffís Department and the Cleveland Police Department on a chase which wound up just over the Sunflower County line, east of Cleveland. I donít know the outcome of that, but his having tied up all the local gendarmes saved Billy and me.
Iíve been to several Ruleville reunions since then Ė none as exciting.
This yearís reunion was held at the estate of Luster Bayless. Luster bought what was known for years as the Wiley Place in Ruleville, an old Victorian home that belonged to ďold money.Ē Luster took it over and has done a wonderful job remodeling and refurbishing. Heís restored the place to its original grandeur, and is also landscaping the impressive grounds, which border on the Darr Bayou.
Iím looking forward to many more annual Ruleville reunions.
The next reunion I attended was the Linn reunion, which has traditionally been held on the last Saturday of June every year for ages. Sad to say, this one seems to be winding down. The last graduating class from Linn High School was 1967. Those people are now in their late 50ís. I was in the class of 1955, and we had our 50th reunion this past year with a good turnout. Only had 20 in our class, and we had 7 show up. Weíve only lost 2 that we know of but, altogether, our class and the ones around us have lost a bunch of classmates. Time will continue to take its toll.
Linn, Mississippi. They say you can never go back home, but I always do.
And finally, the third reunion I attended this past year was the ďDelta State Old Fart Reunion.Ē Originally planned for alumni from the 50ís, 60ís and 70ís, this one is held at J. P. Coleman State Park on the Tennessee River near Iuka, Mississippi, the first weekend in August each year. Started 3 years ago, this has grown into one super weekend.
Located in a bend of the river with a beautiful view, the park is really nice; they have cabins, a motel and provisions for trailers and RVís. The DSU Alumni Association sponsors the reunion and always does a terrific job. We have one good time!
Reunions are great for all us ďelderĒ folks. I canít begin to tell you how much I enjoy seeing old friends to cherish those years we spent together.
I hope we have many more.
His memoirs are favorites at USADEEPSOUTH. Here are a few:
The Halfway Store
The Delta Theater
Memphis and the Delta
Whiskey, Chickens and Cherry Bombs
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