They're like a second family. When you spend up to 33 years working with some of them and many years afterward continuing the friendship, the bond among former teaching colleagues is pretty tight.
That's how it is with folks who worked together from the '60s through just last year, teaching and guiding students at Sandpoint High School.
I joke about it being the "Ha Ha, We Don't Have to Go To Work" party, but really it's better known as "Ron's Party." The sun blocked out part of the sign signifying folks had arrived at Ron's party now held at the home of Duane and Marilyn Ward, so I filled in the letters.
Ron Hunt left us a few years ago, but his spirit fully reigns every August when our retired staff members get together for a potluck and some good visiting.
Yesterday host Duane "Woody" Ward raised a glass in Ron's memory. I'm sure Mr. Hunt smiled and especially so when he saw the ultimate Cougs fans, Pat and Dwight Smith who now live in Pullman, show up at the party.
As usual, it was a great and upbeat gathering as we celebrated Ron and others who have passed on and totally enjoyed the friendships we have all sustained over the years.
Thanks, Duane and Marilyn, for the wonderful setting. And, welcome, Jayne, to the illustrious group of "old timers."
Til next year when maybe Ray Miller will gain an inch or two of height.