Reunion friends met

estaminet, greenehouse, and me

I could probably continue to go blow by blow through the reunion weekend, but I thought focusing on some highlights would be more memorable and appropriate. And, as always, the highlights of any reunion are the people. I’ll save the music folk for another post, as this one will be lengthy enough without them.

The first night’s conversation with Scott and Susan Barker was an early highlight. I don’t think that, ten years ago, I knew Scott would be back at the University teaching, but I certainly knew he was destined for great things. The fact that Susan thought he was a good guy is definitely proof of that. —Friday night was the Barkers’ tenth wedding anniversary as well, they told us over a plate of Big Jim’s Barbecue. I asked them whether the tenth was traditionally the Pork anniversary. I don’t think they appreciated my joke…

We spent some time talking with Dan Herzfeld and his beautiful fiancee, who clearly outclasses all of us and with whom Dan is appropriately smitten. We saw Dan after Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball lecture, during which he handicapped the presidential race. He’s a powerful speaker, but at the end I had to agree with the guy on the Lawn who said, “The bottom line according to Sabato is that it will be a close race, unless it’s a blow-out.”

Saturday afternoon I bumped into Doug Acton and his wife and new baby. Doug has been busy in the military-industrial complex, primarily on the IT side. He was one of two physics classmates I ran into over the weekend; the other, Patrick Manigault, had finished his Ph.D. only to decide it was time to do a career change. He’s now in consulting. (Sound familiar?) At the same reception I ran into Carrie Smith, who was a year ahead of us and also went to the same high school (and middle school) as I. She and her husband appear to be doing well.

On Sunday we breakfasted with Greg Greene and Esta, who drove up from Richmond. The morning was a little comical, as we started out planning to go to Duner’s for brunch only to learn from the helpful lady at our B&B that it no longer did brunch. We then tried the Biltmore and other Corner restaurants, only to find they didn’t open until 11. This left us with the Virginian, about which Bernie Fallon (who was unable to attend the reunion due to work) always said, “Who eats there? You never see anyone go in or leave. Parents don’t eat there, faculty don’t eat there… who eats there?” Well, Bernie, apparently the answer is: people who want Sunday brunch before 11 am.

Afterwards we stopped at the Brown College (née Monroe Hill) reunion brunch, where we saw Marc and Diane Leipzig and their little baby. We also said hello to Carl Trindle, who is still in residence at Monroe Hill (he jokingly calls it his “sinecure”—certainly given his contributions and continued work it’s much more significant than that).

Carl Geisler told me that he thought later reunions, when everyone’s kids were grown and life was more certain, were better. I disagree. The best reunions are ones where the years melt away and you’re speaking with the same people you studied, ate, drank, laughed, and lived with. By any standard this counts.