All Roads Lead Home

 For a few hours on Saturday afternoon and evening, May 28th in small town Lake City, Arkansas, we were all transported into the past as we reconnected at the 2022 Lake City High School Catfish Reunion. Name tags were a necessity for many as we struggled to recognize faces we hadn't seen in what felt like a lifetime ago, and in reality, that was true. Then as we heard the name, or we quickly read the name tag, the years melted away as we looked into the eyes of our classmates and found the person we had known in our teen years. Hugs, hand shakes and sometimes teary eyes ensued as we felt a connection to this person who might have traveled hundreds of miles to return to the small town and high school of our youth.

For some it was the first reunion they'd ever attended, and for others it was ten or twenty years ago. The hard-working committee consisted of graduates who never left their hometown or left and returned. There are no words adequate to thank them for the blast from the past they provided to us in those hours that were just too short. 

A delicious meal was provided and or course only Catfish would do. Served with traditional hush puppies, slaw, french fries and cake for dessert.

The First Baptist Church in Lake City graciously allowed us to use their Family Life Center since sadly, the buildings we knew as our school are no longer there. And not only did they allow us space for our reunion, their awesome praise team provided live music with rock songs from our era that were so good it made us feel young again. Other music was provided from alumni and all three men rose to the occasion making those in the  audience proud to know them. Thank you Paul Spurlock, class of 1958, Miron Williams, class of 1955 and John Alumbaugh, class of 1975.

John Wallace, class of 1970 and Darin Owens, class of 1983 were Co-Masters of Ceremonies. The evening was packed with Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem sung by Nancy (Seay) Gammill, class of 1969, recognition of Veterans in attendance and a moment of silence for those who gave their all to provide us the freedom to gather on this beautiful spring evening.

The remainder of the evening was filled with recognition of the oldest and the youngest in attendance, the person who traveled the farthest, past Valedictorians and Salutatorians, former Little Miss, Jr. Miss and Sr. Miss Lake City.

Since the evening grew long and people were beginning to leave, we didn't have time for the cheerleaders to lead us in the Lake City High School Alma Mater. For those reading this that can remember the tune, here are the words.

        We are loyal to you LCH.  To your colors we're true, LCH.  We back you to stand as the best in the land, and we know you can stand, LCH RAH,RAH.   

         So, out with that ball, LCH.  We are backing you all LCH.  Our team is the best protector, oh boys for we expect a victory from you  LCH. RAH! RAH! 

I love people and I love to hear their stories.  Since we were a small school, we knew everyone.  Maybe not intimately, but we knew where they lived, who their parents were, their siblings and other things one knows in a small town. Sitting at my table and sprinkled throughout the building I knew several, some very well and a few intimately. 

If only we had time to hear from everyone. Where have you been the past 40, 50 or 60 years? What have you done in life? Are you married, divorced, widowed or have you remained single? Are you happy?  Have you had tragedy and troubles?  Whatever those answers might be, I knew one thing. Their foundation started in that small town or on the farms scattered around the area. 

In every school, large or small, there are students who excel and students who struggle. Some come away with wonderful memories and others just want to forget their experiences in high school. I saw both at that reunion, or at least from my memories. I saw both. They were there, talking non-stop, laughing, celebrating and reconnecting.  As we age and live out our years in many different places, in many different types of families and with many different incomes, we sometimes look at the past with different eyes.

We all have different experiences in the same situation. My experience at the reunion was a myriad of emotions. Gratitude, for some of my very best friends since first grade who worked tirelessly to give the rest of us a great time. Thank you, Mary (Nall) Robertson, Mona (Caldwell) Smith, Linda (Malone) Steele, Shirley (Alumbaugh) Smith, Sherry (Wallace) McAnally, Brenda (Ridge) Milligan, and Martha Carter.

Thankful, for my son Darin, who was there for the first time as a Co-Master of Ceremonies. He is one that never left this area and truly loves and appreciates the legacy of his grandparents and the people of his youth.

Humbled, that I feel connected the minute I arrive, though I've lived away from that small town for the past 40 years. 

Indebted! I feel I owe a debt to the people who taught me, came alongside me when tragedy struck our family, loved on me and told me I was worthy.  Then accepted me when I failed, picked me up, brushed me off and encouraged me.  We are the sum of everyone we come in contact with over our lifetime. God uses the people whose lives intersect with ours to bless us as He weaves our individual stories. Lake City and Lake City High School are my roots, deep roots and that is why the minute I arrive, the road has led me back home.


  1. Linda, no one could have described our time together any better. It was so much fun, and if you weren't there, you should have been. Love you Linda.


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