Friday, September 3, 2010

Wagon Days reunions—rocky too


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

One of the truly great things about Wagon Days weekend is that you get to reunite with a lot of old friends. This is the one weekend of the year where it seems that everybody comes back, and it seems like they've never been gone. This unique happenstance runs rampant here in the Wood River Valley.

"Hey, how have you been? I haven't seen you all summer!"

"Well, that's because I've been gone for six years."

Or, "Is everything all right? I haven't seen you and Ralph in a while."

"Well, Ralph and I divorced three years ago and I've been in Barcelona for two decades."

"Yeah? Well, welcome back."

This kind of banter goes on all week long as we welcome back old friends we've lost touch with over the years. It's tough in this valley to keep track of people we used to see on a regular basis. People get new jobs and move down the valley and we might not run into them for years. We all get so wrapped up in our new lives that we just don't have the time to keep in touch. We'd like to but there's so much going on with jobs, family, obligations, shopping, recreation, schools, new friends and the pressures of the economy. People slip away and we don't see them until Wagon Days.

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One person who comes to mind is a guy I used to see all the time in the 1970s and 1980s—a wonderful guy named Rocky Johnson. I met up with him just this last week. Rocky used to come to the "Whoop Shows" I did back then and was always a wonderful person to have fun with and swap stories with. I learned that Rocky had been diagnosed with leukemia last March, didn't tell anyone, went into remission and is now faced with enormous medical bills and more to come as he readies himself for bone marrow transplants in Seattle soon and more chemotherapy. Who knew? Not many people because that's the kind of guy he is. Now, he's back in town and we would all like to do something for him. So, here we go.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, from 4-10 p.m. at the Sagebrush Arena in Hailey, a group of his friends have planned to gather and have a party in his honor. That's the way we do things here. We help out our old friends even if we haven't seen them in years. You do it because people have helped you in the past in the same way. There's two different bands that will be playing, raffle prizes to be won, old friends to see and tales to exchange along with a lot of food and beverages. So come on out and join in. You'll have a great time. It's what we do ...

Nice talking to you.




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