A 50th college reunion is a momentous mile marker along life's tortuous path that merits celebrating, which is what thousands of alums from hundreds of colleges and universities do, who are fortunate to live long enough to celebrate their golden jubilee.
I recently heard from two friends who attended their 50th college reunion. Jim, who calls Central America home, returned to New Haven, Conn., joining his Yale Class of 1967 and Floridian Tom ventured to Annapolis, Md., to reconnect with his Naval Academy Class of 1967.
Reflecting on his years at Yale, Jim wrote, "As far as staying in touch with old friends, it's not necessary. Whenever we meet and greet, whether in person or by media, the conversation picks up where it left off."
Tom echoed the same sentiment. "The academics, athletics, and my classmates were great. Many classmates remain lifelong friends. The guys that you lived with and worked with became a big fraternity."
Both reported time reminiscing at their 50th reunions was warm and well spent. Summing up his return to Annapolis, Tom remarked, "The 50th went very well with perfect weather and many acquaintances fondly remembered."
"I was shocked by how many old people were there! One looks in the mirror without noticing the changes," Jim commented. "A high point was having lunch with ex-Senator Jim Buckley, Bill Buckley's younger brother. It was one of the most amazing two-hour lunch discussions I've ever enjoyed. The main topic was politics, and the man's recall and ability to relate past and present was unlike anything I had experienced.
"Despite the camaraderie and the flattering recognition I received from my peers, our bodies talk to us and mine said, 'Gringo, go home where time stands still.'"
This year, sometime before the ball falls in New York's Time Square on New Year's Eve, I, too, will be celebrating my 50th college reunion; however, since my college, the University of the Americas (U of A), formerly in Mexico City, no longer exists, I'll be celebrating my reunion at home on Cheyenne Mountain with my wife, Shirley, and our 9-month-old St. Bernard puppy, Schnapps.
When I attended U of A, it was the only American university south of the border, and only one of three U.S. schools operating outside the country - the other two being Sofia University in Tokyo, Japan and the American University in Beirut, Lebanon.
May 29, 1970 the last U of A class graduated and a week later the university officially closed.
Not long after, the campus became the home to Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económica A.C./Center for Economic Research and Teaching, one of the country's premier think tanks.
I'll regale Shirley and Schnapps with a clutch of university and Mexican memories until the former's eyes glaze over and the latter ceases wagging his tail.
While sipping a glass or two of Pinot Noir, nibbling madeleines and toasting to those halcyon undergraduate days - both well spent and ill, I'll make a few calls to classmates who have remained in my orbit and give thanks for their enduring friendship.
Attending one's 50th college reunion, wherever the venue, one must admit that most of the snows of yesteryear have vanished, but, there is joy knowing that many snowflakes remain.
Todd Tarbox, author of "Orson Welles and Roger Hill: A Friendship in Three Acts," lives in Colorado Springs.