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Column: Are they really throwing bingo cards?

A few days ago, the Three Forks High School conducted a ceremony for the Class of 2023.

I wish all the graduates well in the future, whether moving on to college, the workforce, taking some time off, or not having a clue what they will do, which is perfectly fine too.

While it certainly does not feel like yesterday, I cannot believe that I graduated from high school nearly 30 years ago, which makes me sad. Where did the time go?

I spent a few minutes trying to reflect on my graduation day, but my recollection is probably not as straightforward as it might have been one or two decades ago.

I can remember the weeks leading up to graduation seemed to drag, and every day at school felt probably as long as it had been since I received my diploma. There were indeed a few days when we decided to head out to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir for some fun. We also had a “senior skip day,” which was not sanctioned but not frowned upon. Leaving school that day, I swatted a bee and, for the first time, was stung. I did not handle it well, which put a damper on the day. I didn’t have a horrible reaction, but I freaked out when my finger swelled and was a baby the entire day.

On the actual day of the ceremony, I can remember being at my grandparents’ house with my cousin Zac, who also graduated later in the day. We told everyone at the house we would make a scene, something like extravagant bird noises, as we received our diplomas back-to-back, but this did not go over well. I can still see the look of disappointment on my grandfather’s face, and I think he was a lot more excited about the ceremony than I was and quickly let us know there would be no shenanigans.

Once we were scolded, we headed over to the ceremony, and the two things I can remember are that it was a sauna in our gymnasium, and it took about an hour to award the diplomas. I can’t remember the size of my class, but it was probably around 300, and I think I passed out about four times before they eventually made it through the alphabet to the Ss.

I look back fondly at seeing so many family members in attendance, and it took quite a while to get through pictures after the ceremony. I’m not much of a hugger, but I had to give way too many that day, but I didn’t mind. I’m just glad people cared enough to come.

After a wonderful dinner at Sand’s Café, a bunch of us went to a “house party” hosted by a classmate. It was a wild few hours, and I learned the hard way that evening that you don’t inhale a cigar. My wonderful dinner ended in the toilet, which was not a great way to start my post-high school life.

We had a ton of fun before we all headed to the “All-Night” party, where we were basically locked in the atrium of our local community college from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. While I was the life of the party early on, especially with karaoke, I started to get tired at about 2 a.m. and just wanted to go to bed. Around 4 a.m., organizers announced they would be giving away a car. I knew this was coming and suddenly had a ton of energy. I really needed a car, so I hoped luck would favor me and I could drive home in my new vehicle. Unfortunately, I did not win, and people didn’t like who won and started throwing bingo cards in her general direction. It was ugly, but she didn’t seem to care; she had just won a car.

A few minutes later, I won a cooler. To this day, I can’t ever remember using it, but at least I won something.

At 6 a.m., I went home and slept the day away.

Soon I would be starting a new job as a front desk clerk at a Day’s Inn, and, a few months later, would move to attend college.

Looking back, I wish I would have enjoyed the last few weeks of school a bit more and had a few memories.

Maybe later, I should figure out what happened to that cooler.

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