Tuesday, June 20, 2006


This year makes the 30th anniversary of my graduation from high school. Not what many folks call a major milestone, but one I'm proud of, anyway. I still have my white-covered diploma covered up and put away, the bicentennial logo sticker still attached to it. And I've kept the laminated copy of it in my wallet all these years.

Nearly two weeks ago, while I was at work, my son took a call from an old classmate who is organizing our 30 year reunion scheduled for next month. And a couple of days ago, I received my invitation and information about the event. It really sounds like a nice evening, an informal event with dinner served at a beautiful, rural setting normally used for weddings and receptions.

I was truly looking forward to finalizing plans to attend, especially since it has been at least three years since the last time I made the trip home to Mississippi's Pine Belt region. I still have family members there, and combining the idea of seeing them (and a couple I've not even met yet) with old friends was making me smile more than I have in awhile.

Unfortunately, though, those plans have now been squelched. While I've worked enough hours this year to earn vacation time, it turns out I won't get to use them until I've been with the company for a year. That means I can't use them until around the Christmas/New Year's time. I knew that would be the likely answer from management, but if you don't ask... I could take the time off without pay, but at present that is not an option I can afford.

BTW: If you're taking a trip, consider taking the bus. Flying is simply too expensive. From Tampa to Laurel/Hattiesburg, Mississippi by plane (Northwest is the only airline serving the airport there via their commuter line) is nearly $400, round trip. While the trip is a bit longer each way, it's only $111 round trip taking Greyhound, if you buy the ticket at least a week in advance. Riding the bus gives you the chance to collect your thoughts, rest, and get your plans in order once you're at your destination.

It was a great idea while it lasted...


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