I got a phone call earlier this week from a girl I went to high school with. We had reconnected briefly back in 2006 when our class was planning its 20 year high school reunion. We made all the noises about keeping in touch, and we slowly fell back out of touch.
Mekala called me after the girls died, back in November. I just hadn't called her back yet. I knew I needed to call her back, and I was touched that she called. I just kept putting it off.
Anyway, I'm glad she made the effort to call me again. She asked how I was doing, and I said, okay. She said "yeah, we need to skip school again." Which made me laugh remembering what happened the first time we did that.
Let me just tell you - I skipped school. A lot. I could have graduated my junior year, as I had all the necessary credits. So I worked a half-day my senior year, and the only classes I had were the vocational business class (required to work half-day) and I was on the yearbook/newspaper committee. All I needed for that class was to turn in my articles and I would pass. Before you think I was some deadbeat, most of the time I skipped school and went to work. Occasionally, if it was a nice day, my girlfriends and I would head out to Ha Ha Tonka and sit on the island and drink beer that someone had stolen from their parents' refrigerator. But that only happened a couple of times. Really.
Anyway, Mekala lived near me, and I would take her to school. One day, we decided we just didn't want to go. Of course, we were both up and dressed, so we decided to kill time until when the video store opened, and we'd go rent a movie. She was cool, she had a laser disc player.
Now, growing up at the Lake of the Ozarks in 1985, it was not the hoppin' happenin' metropolis it is today. The only movie store back then was about 15 miles away in Osage Beach. We lived near Camdenton. So, we hopped in my bright orange day-glo Mustang and decided to drive around until the move store opened.
My mom worked at the bank so I knew she wouldn't be out driving around. My dad was a salesman and I figured he was well on his way to Jefferson City, 60 miles away. We were safe, right? Uh, no. We pulled up to a stoplight, just before the turn to the video store, and Mekala said "oh hell, it's your dad." I looked over and sure enough, he was right next to us. I waved, he looked, shook his head, and when the light turned green, he headed down the road. I turned at the video store and waited about 5 minutes, but he never came back.
We rented our laser disc, went back to Mekala's, and watched the movie and just hung out smoking cigarettes until I had to go to work. I was nervous all day that he'd ground me when he got home. But when he got home, he didn't say a word. Which just made my nervousness worse.
Later, when my mom wasn't around, I told him what Mekala and I had done. He just asked how my grades were, and asked if I went to work. I told him grades were fine (which they were) and I did go to work. he said "all right. Just be careful." I think I got off easy because we watched a movie. Had we gone to Ha Ha Tonka and drank, he might not have been so forgiving!
I let Jessica skip a few times from high school. I did make sure her grades were good, and that she wasn't bailing because she wasn't prepared for a test. I did let her skip one time on a test, only because she had been up late studying and she was exhausted. I knew she wouldn't do well, not because she didn't know the material, but because she was so tired and so nervous. So I let her stay home and get some rest, and she aced the test the following day.
Once a school year, when the weather would turn nice, I'd take a day off work and we'd have "let's play hooky" day. Maddy and I did it this year, and we went to Grafton. I don't advocate skipping school all the time, but it's a nice memory that they have of taking the day off, doing something fun, going to lunch and just spending time with each other.