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The Good Ol' Days
We all have them. The good ol' days. Back when gas was .99/gallon (and a lot less than that for you experienced readers I'm sure), and when we got our movies at Blockbuster, or Hollywood Video, or that little place on N. Mesa in Fruita. Back when life was simple. Oh, but did we think life was simple at the time? Of course not! We had the weight of the world on our shoulders, and everything in life hinged on passing that test at school, or making the football team, or whether or not Lucy Lu would go out with you. I know I've mentioned this before, but the internet was born, to the public anyway, when I was in high school. As far as I know, and I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer so that's not saying much, I don't think anyone had a cell phone when I was in school. You were one of the cool kids if you had a pager and an MP4.
The only reason I bring it up is that I just can't believe how much things have changed. And I'm only 50, so I can only imagine how different things must be for my parents' generation, compared to their good ol' days.
People older than me say I'm not old, but to me, 50 is old, and I'm definitely feeling it, from my head to my feet. I'm starting to forget things more, I've got carpal tunnel in my hands, my lower back is shot from a lifetime of ignoring proper lifting techniques because I thought I was invincible, and on, and on... But sometimes I think back, not to beat a dead horse, to the good ol' days, and remember how much fun I had. I used to ski in the winter—almost every weekend for a time, and in the summer, I would ride my bike, drive up to the potholes on Glade Park, play soccer, and go on month-long vacations around the country. You know, the... I won't say it again!
My two brothers and I had a good childhood for the most part. It was somewhat of a... and I don't like the word sheltered, but for lack of an exquisite vocabulary, we had somewhat of a sheltered life (and I call myself a writer?). Mom, I know you're reading this, so please know that, in no way, am I saying that my childhood was bad. We wanted for nothing. Well, maybe a television and public school, but I probably wouldn't be as creative as I am today if we'd had a TV. And, after seeing the bad habits (uh, cigarettes, alcohol, and rock-n-roll) I picked up from my friends at Christian school, I can't imagine what a terror I could have become if
I'd continued in public school. Whew! We may have averted another Ted Bundy or Ted Kaczynski, who, I didn't know but just read on Google, died last year, June 10th, 2023. And that's the fun fact for the day!
Anyways, after attending private school from 4th—8th grades, I did go back to public school, attending Fruita Monument HS. It was exciting to be in a much bigger school, though, compared to most high schools, FMHS was not really that big. I remember being quite nervous at first, but I fit in quickly and made the football and soccer teams, so that helped calm the nerves. High school, for the most part, was a blast, but I also went through a little rebellious streak that got me into a fair share of trouble; not the same trouble as the Teds I mentioned, but trouble, nonetheless. I won't get into the details, but I wasn't a rebel forever and eventually turned out to be a responsible adult.
While we're on the subject of my wild and crazy teenage years, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the Midnight Tokers. Now, parents of children that attended FMHS between the years of 1986 and 1992, so yes, that includes you Mom and Dad, please kindly skip over to the next section, as we will be discussing a subject matter you ought not hear.
The crowd I hung around with during the prime of my life listened to music like The Eagles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and the always-fun, rockin' Steve Miller Band. Well, I guess I lied back there when I said I won't get into the details, and if you're still reading this and you are one of the parents previously noted, please skip to the section titled, In Memory Of. I even created a link to get there by just clicking on the underlined, bold words you just read.
Well, here goes... Isn't it kind of funny that my rebellious streak coincided with me coming to the age that I was able to drive? Yeah, funny how a little independence and some unusual, whacked-out hormones could give someone an attitude. I'll just say it now, and since I was a teenager once, you can believe me when I say that teenagers are monsters. Maybe not ALL, but MOST. Sorry, I'm rambling, back to the story Jas, geez!
So, I had a license, a car, and a yearning for adventure. Those bad habits I'd picked up from private school? Yeah, they were kicking into full gear at this point. Now, I'm not going to mention any names, but my friends and I used to sneak out late at night and drive around, smoking cigarettes and other things, drinking, and just doing stupid kid stuff.
Well, it would not be uncommon to here "The Joker" by Steve Miller Band blaring out of the obnoxious sound systems from one of our cars, and that led to the creation of our gang's new name, The Midnight Tokers. We thought it clever at the time and it was definitely appropriate, I guess. The gang was mainly us kids on the Redlands, and I can't remember if I brought along my little brother or not, but we had some outrageously funny, late-night excursions up to Easter Hill.
Of course, there were scary moments too. Like the time we were way out in the sticks, smoking out whoever's car we were in, and some cops pulled up. I say, way out in the sticks, which it was at the time, but today, ironically enough, it is where the Colorado State Patrol office in Fruita is. I think they called our parents, and that time, I know Nate was with me, because our parents were out of the country, and we had some 'splainin' to do when they got back. Mind you, this was in the '90s, way before pot was legal in Colorado, so thank God we didn't get in trouble. The cops just gave us a slap on the wrist, and they took our weed. Hmm... Don't worry, this was over 30 years ago so I'm not going to go all conspiracy theory.
In Memory Of...
As we reminisce about the good ol' days, back in '92, in and around the Redlands and Fruita, it stirs up some emotions in me. I'm sure that anyone reading this, and that includes YOU, has lost, at least one if not more, close friend. I also lost some close friends while growing up, and in thinking about all of the good times, those friends are just as vivid in my memories as the ones that I still see today. This post is a Memorial to some close friends of mine that passed away far before their time, and may, or may not, have been part of the Midnight Tokers.