It happens every year. On the Saturday before the first Sunday in May, the Gore Springs School Reunion is held at the old schoolhouse at Gore Springs.
This year’s date is Saturday, May 3. I will be there. Will you?
The reunion is for anyone who ever attended or taught at Gore Springs School, the descendants or surviving spouses of anyone whoever attended or taught at the school, or anyone who just happens to love the Gore Springs community and wants to be in the company of the fine folks of Gore Springs, Mississippi.
Returning to the old schoolhouse is like stepping onto hallowed ground.
Standing outside, one can listen intently and hear the sounds of children playing. Laughter and excited exclamations ring out from where the swing sets used to stand and from the “merry-go-round” and from the ball fields.
I saw my first jet airplane many years ago while standing in front of the gymnasium. The jet buzzed just above the treetops and broke the sound barrier as it passed over. I will never forget it!
Is that the bell ringing?
Inside the school building, the drone of teachers’ voices can be heard speaking of science, history and arithmetic. Perhaps a student is reciting. Others are whispering. There is a smell, not unpleasant – something they put on the wooden floors.
In a moment the sounds and smells are gone, just caught for a bit in the wisp of a wayward breeze that happened to fly down for a spell. A brief interlude with the past gives way to the present.
The children are all grown and old. Some are older than others. It is now rare for a teacher to be with us, except for the seemingly ageless Norma Shaw, who also just happens to make the best fried pies this side of heaven. For awhile, it seemed that everyone was getting older each year. Now, they all seem to be getting younger.
There will be plenty of good food at the reunion. Fried chicken, spaghetti casserole, meatloaf, baked ham, baked chicken and dressing, potato salad, fruit salad, green beans, butter beans, peas, mashed potatoes with gravy, squash and corn.
Hot rolls and cornbread.
A variety of sandwiches, fresh pickles, and an assortment of condiments, iced tea and desserts.
Oh, the desserts! I know there will be a coconut cake, as well as chocolate cake, brownies, sweet potato pie and lemon icebox pie.
If Gary Rook attends, there may be grattons (Cajun cracklins).
The food is supplied by those who attend. The invitations sent out by Mrs. Joy Marter Tippit say, “Bring a covered dish, if convenient. If not, come anyway.”
Activities will kick off around 10 a.m. The fellowship will be fabulous. There will be laughter and hugs and tears.
Some who were present in past years will not be present this year. Some will have already gone on to the final roll call.
There will be some new ones, those who have not attended before. Like I was a few years back, they will have been drawn to the old schoolhouse not knowing exactly what to expect but coming nonetheless.
They will remember the days spent at the old school. They will walk the hallowed halls of the Gore Springs School and be glad they came.
By the time everyone is allowed to stand and say what they want to say, it will be time for a smart fellow to be working his way into position to be near the head of the line for the food. One year, I talked and visited too much and missed out on the fried pies.