Fall Festival Favorites

As autumn rolls around it is time to roll out the barrels… of fun! There are few functions we find more fantastic than a fabulous fall festival…


The view from the Kaatskill Flyer chairlift.

As the Autumn rolls around it is time to roll out the barrels… of fun! There are few functions we find more fantastic than a fabulous fall festival.

Over the years we have frequently found ourselves in the midst of many of these autumnal classics, usually by accidentally stumbling upon them in our travels.

However we discovered them, here are five of our favorites, plus a perfect bonus celebration… the Pumpkin Fest!

Bean Fest!

Speaking of competitions, the Annual Arkansas Bean Fest and Great Championship Outhouse Races could be the best of the bunch. You might say it’s a gas!

The festivities, as with every gathering in Mountain View, begin with live bluegrass and folk music.  No wonder Mountain View is known as “The Folk Music Capital of The World.”

Then the events kick off with the Beanie Weenie Dog Show while the cooks set up their giant pots for the main event. Each cauldron is filled with water and fifty pounds of dry pinto beans to soak, then at the crack of dawn Saturday morning fires are lit under the pots and the cooking commences.

After the beans are served it’s off to the races. These aren’t your average outhouses, oh no, these are high performance porta-potties.

This year (2021) the 39th Annual Bean Fest & Championship Outhouse Race takes place on October 22nd and 23rd.

Salmon Fest

For a different kettle of fish, we found a fascinating annual phenomenon In the Seattle suburb of Issaquah. Each autumn thousands of salmon fight their way through the town in Issaquah Creek in an unstoppable trek to the hatchery where they were born. This event spawned the beloved Salmon Fest.

For over forty years, hundreds of thousands of people have come to celebrate the return of the salmon.  Five stages scattered throughout downtown feature music, while we humans satisfy our urges through feeding frenzies at the food vendors.

The 52nd annual Issaquah Salmon Days Festival will be held October 2nd & 3rd, 2021.

Sheep & Wool

Another event that has been going strong for more than four decades is the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. Each year the Dutchess County Sheep & Wool Growers’ Association throws this baaaa-sh in October.

Folks come from all across the Hudson Valley to witness sheep shearing,  yarn spinning,  and parades of llamas, alpacas, and cashmere goats.

But for us it was the dogs that stole the show. While the canine frisbee demonstrations were impressive, we couldn’t get enough of the border collies doing what they do best, even better than catching plastic discs, herding.  We couldn’t help but think of the movie Babe.

The New York State Sheep & Wool Festival will be October 16th and 17th this year (2021).

Crab Fest

While crabs might not be the first thing we think of at this time of year, the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival in Port Angeles had us rethinking that.  On the northern coast of Washington, this is definitely the place to be for any decapod chowing seafood lover. 

We tried our hands at crabbing in the Grab-A-Crab Derby, and were rewarded with the steamed outcome of our catch.  For those who don’t want to fish for their supper there is also “The Famous Crab Feed” where a whole Dungeness Crab is served up with corn, coleslaw, music and beer.

The 2021 Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival will be Ocotber 8th through the 10th.


Lastly, but certainly not least, for the ultimate October celebration we went to the source, North Central Illinois, and the Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival. Eighty percent of those big orange squash come from this area.

We kicked off the merriment down to the courthouse for the Lions Club Giant Pumpkin weigh-in. Here the giants are measured and judged, as are the thousands of Jack-o’-lanterns  that adorn the  lawn.

Later we joined in the Pie Eating Contest and then ghost stories at the cemetery.  The weekend culminates with the big Pumpkin Festival Parade.

The Sycamore Pumpkin Festival will be held October 27-31, 2021.


Most likely the first thing that jumps to mind when we mention October and festival is the German tradition of beer-based festivities. The Hunter Mountain Oktoberfest in New York certainly is worthy of the name.

Hunter is a ski resort, so for a fantastic view of the fall foliage we started the day with a ride on the Kaatskill Flyer chairlift. The top of the mountain can get a little chilly this time of year high in the Catskills.

But beyond the scenic setting, the authentic food, music, and dancing had us believing we might be in Bavaria while the keg rolling, krug carrying, and the masskrugstemmen, which means beer-stein holding, contests kept us cracking up while we competed.

Unfortunately, this year’s Octoberfest has been cancelled, but we can hardly wait until 2022.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Escape to an All-Inclusive Island Vacation after Covid-19

Escaping to a far away island sounds like just the ticket to put the craziness of the past year or so behind us. Whether it is in the Mediterranean or the Pacific, nothing makes an island vacation more relaxing than having everything included… CONTINUE READING >>

Ever hear people say “I’d like to escape to an island somewhere?”

Well after the insanity of the past year and a half, who could blame them? Not us, that’s for sure.

In fact, we think that they might just be on to a really good idea. Escaping to a far away island sounds like just the ticket to put all of that craziness out of site and out of mind. And with the days getting shorter, and cooler, now just might be the time to start planning a getaway.

So let’s take a look at two outstanding options for a little self-imposed island exile, Mallorca, in the sunny Mediterranean, and Hawaii, out in middle of the tropical Pacific. And while we are thinking about this escape, we are also thinking that this is a good time for a vacation without any hassles.

No worries about where to stay, what to do, or what to eat. That means we will be looking at some all-inclusive alternatives. There’s no better way to relax. And even with the Covid considerations not completely behind us, we can feel confident in the precautions these resorts are taking.

So, let’s begin by looking at some Mallorca all-inclusive resorts. Most are either on the beach, or only a few steps away, and all of them are perfect for exploring this unique and exciting island.

Mallorca has been the historic home to the Talaiotic Culture, Phoenicians, Romans, the Crown of Aragon, and now Spain. Along the way, many others dropped by hoping to enjoy the beautiful island, or maybe ransack and conquer it.

Either way it has been a popular destination ever since the first boats began to sail the Mediterranean. Of course, now things have settled down and taken a turn for the luxurious. Catering to visitor’s comfort has become a way of life.

Still, enjoying the extravagance of an all-inclusive resort doesn’t mean that we can’t do some exploring on our own. I mean, if we are going to Mallorca, we have to see a few of the sites.

We wouldn’t want to miss Sa Calobra, The Snake Road, through the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, and especially not where the Torrent de Pareis meets the Mediterranean Sea. The mouth of the canyon opens right into the ocean, with spectacular cliffs on either side.

There is also no way we could visit Mallorca and not see the capital of the Balearic Islands, Palma. The city was founded way back before Roman times and the historic center has retained several noteworthy landmarks.

Without a doubt, the most magnificent is The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, or as locals call it, La Seu. Work began nearly eight hundred years ago and it certainly rivals any of the great cathedrals of Europe.

Keeping the sight-seeing simple, the Royal Palace of La Almudaina is right next door. We figure, why not stop by since everybody likes a good palace.

But we might consider a more tropical alternative with a hint of a chill beginning to arrive. With that in mind let’s check out some Hawaii all-inclusive vacations.

Hawaii has been very serious with taking Covid precautions, and so have the resorts. Many have reduced their capacity and extended service hours in restaurants to help with social distancing. This means we can enjoy one of the world’s greatest tropical paradises without worrying or waiting for all of the restrictions to be removed.

Great deals are available on several of the islands, so there is no problem exploring rain forests or volcanoes, surfing world-class waves, or just hanging loose and soaking up some sun on the beach with that classic Aloha Spirit.

We know the fantastic feeling of all our cares and problems from back in the real world melting away in the warm breezes and tropical sun of Hawaii, and it is tough to beat it.

And again, whether it is in the Mediterranean or the Pacific, nothing makes an island vacation more relaxing than having everything included.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Traveling with Big Toe Joint Pain

When you are traveling, toe pain can become a problem. Not only are you out of your element, you certainly want to be able to get out and see the sites…

This ailment may seem oddly specific, but there are a lot of people who experience debilitating pain in their feet. If your hands hurt or your wrist is sore, that could slow you down. But nothing slows you down quite like big toe joint pain.

Traveling with Big Toe Joint Pain

So, it is one thing to have pain in your feet when you are at home and can spend some time sitting and relaxing, without having to move around much. When you are traveling, this becomes a problem. Not only are you out of your element, you certainly want to be able to get out and see the sites. Hotel rooms and airbnbs are great for sleeping, but not for experiencing new places.

Causes of Big Toe Joint Pain

The metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint attaches the big toe to the foot. The MTP joint is vital for supporting the body and allowing the big toe to bend up and down acting as a push-off point when you walk, run, or limp (which is most likely, if you have foot pain). Many of us are not spring chickens and our feet have spent decades helping us make life happen. Wear and tear alone can cause pain. Other more specific causes may include:

    • Arthritis
    • Bunion
    • Gout
    • Turf toe
    • Sesamoiditis

Regardless of the cause, you need to feel better fast so you can literally keep moving forward. Don’t let big toe joint pain ruin your vacation.

Treatment for Big Toe Joint Pain

Ultimately, you should check in with your regular doctor or pediatrist if you have one. When you are states, or countries away, or intent to be, you need something that will help in the interim or part of as a normal wellness regiment.

Proper Shoes

Take off the high heels or heavy boots. They may look cool, but they are not what you need right now. Anything with a heel, no matter how high, is going to put more pressure on your big toe. Make sure you have comfortable shoes that meant for movement. You may need to purchase insoles to add cushion that is more fitted to your foot. Consider open or stretchy shoes if you have swelling or a bunion for additional space.

CBD for Pain Relief

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant. Topical CBD for joint pain interacts with your body’s natural receptors to reduce pain and inflammation. Applying topical CBD can help alleviate pain in a matter of minutes. Receptra Naturals Serious Relief Targeted Topical CBD for pain has the added benefits of arnica for swelling and bruising, and camphor for better, more effective delivery.

Ice it Down

No one likes having to apply ice to an injury, but it does reduce inflammation and swelling. This might be an option for you depending what type of big toe joint pain you are experiencing. Make sure that you don’t apply direct ice for a prolonged period of time. Us a hand towel or something similar between your skin and the ice pack.

Take Breaks

You don’t have to sit on a park bench for hours, but if that seems like good idea, make sure to keep a book with you and enjoy the outdoors. Look for coffee shops on restaurants where you can take mini breaks to sit and let your toe have a moment without pressure. Make sure your travel companions know what you are experiencing so they don’t just think you are being lazy.

More Joy – Less Pain

At a certain age, aches and pains are an expected part of life, but they should not keep you from doing what you love. The answers for enjoying your travel experience despite big toe joint pain are to be prepared with proper shoes and quality topical CBD for pain, and take the time for breaks and ice at the end of the day, in-between adventures.   We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Something Smells Fishy in Alaska

A uniquely Alaskan experience, so much so that you must be a permanent Alaskan resident to participate in it, meant that we could only be spectators while our son went about the business of netting salmon… CONTINUE READING >>

Summers may be short in Alaska, but the days are certainly long… almost never ending. As in, it never gets all the way dark.

That means summer is the time to get outdoors and enjoy the incredible natural beauty that the forty-ninth state has to offer before the long winter nights return. So, on our recent visit we did just that.

Our first adventure was a uniquely Alaskan experience, so much so that you must be a permanent Alaskan resident to participate in it. That meant that we could only be spectators while our son went about the business of netting salmon. We were not allowed to touch the fish or any of the equipment used to catch or store them. But watching was more than enough for us to get a full understanding of what dip netting is all about.

The process involves standing chest deep in the mouth of a river with a huge net and snagging the fish as they enter the stream from the ocean. Our son had explained this to us many times over the past few years on phone calls.

But what we had pictured in our minds was not quite like the real thing. So, in order to get the real scoop, we loaded up camping gear for a night on the beach and headed to Kenai to find out what it was really all about.

By the time we arrived hundreds of people already lined the banks. Each one held a nets up to six feet across just waiting for a salmon to swim into it. Not like any fishing I had ever done before!

On the other hand, it works. Our boy had his first catch within a few minutes, but then he went on a long dry spell. After a few hours I was beginning to wonder if he was going to get any more.

Then all hell broke loose! The high tide was receding and there were fish everywhere. Every single fisherman, or woman, was dragging out a full net every few minutes. The fish were jumping across the surface of the water and sea lions were everywhere in hot pursuit.

“Night time” during the summer in Alaska.

Meanwhile, thousands of seagulls swarmed the beach to pick up scraps left behind as folks cleaned their catch at the water’s edge. It was quite a scene and by the time things settled down about an hour later our son had eighteen big fish in the cooler.

He was ready to call it a day, so we settled in by the campfire for some dinner and a few cold beers. Then we hit the sack early because the next high tide, which is the best time for catching, was due at around five am.

But the tide had a bigger surprise in store for us.

At around 4:30 we awoke to a woman outside our tent yelling to get up. Through sleep blurred eyes I opened the flap to find that the sea had risen to within a foot or two of our tent. This good Samaritan had made like Paul Revere and warned everyone that “the water is coming; the water is coming!”

Scrambling out we pulled up stakes and dragged the tent up the beach to higher ground. Oh, I almost forgot to add that it was pouring rain while this episode took place.

Sleepy and soaked, we crawled back inside to try to catch a few more zzzzs. But of course, it was already daylight so… we waited for the rain to abate and then started our day.

The Boy caught five more fish that morning while we made breakfast and broke camp.

Back at home we all pitched in to clean and fillet the catch and then the best part, grilled the freshest salmon ever for an Alaskan meal like none other.

That gave us the strength for our next adventure of climbing up to an alpine lake, but more on that next time.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com


Even Nomads Need a Home, Why Not in Spain?

Spain is issuing digital nomad visas for remote workers who want to continue to work or retire and enjoy the gorgeous countryside, culture, food, and weather the country has to offer… CONTINUE READING >>

In our twelve years of traveling since becoming empty nesters, we still needed a home base. For us it has been from St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, to Michigan, then New York, and finally California. But now we ae seriously considering making somewhere in Europe our next base.

For us the motivation is that we now have family, including a new grandchild, living there and we would love to be closer to them. So we have begun to look at some of the possibilities.

That is why we were excited to learn thatfor globe-trotting Gypsynesters like us, there is a fantastic option called the Spain digital nomad visa.

Within the next few months, the Spanish government will begin issuing digital nomad visas for remote workers who would like to visit and work digitally. However, we are far from experts on how to go about getting one, and of course, for those of us who are not an EU citizen there are some restrictions and qualifications to be met.

That is where the My Spain Visa law firm can help. They are experts with more than 15 years of experience of helping people live and work in Spain. They know the ins and outs as well as all of the requirements, so they can complete the process as fast as possible and have us on our way to working while traveling.

There are certainly many other reasons that people may want to relocate to Europe. Retirement is definitely another one, and in that case sunny Spain is rightfully near the top of everybody’s list. That is why over a million people have already done it.

Retiring obviously involves living there permanently, and the My Spain Visa law firm can help with that too. There are options such as the Golden visa, which requires that applicants invest a specific amount in Spanish public debt securities or stock in Spanish capital companies. The financial obligationcan also be met with bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions.

Another option is to purchase investment real estate in Spain, and My Spain Visa can also help with the purchase of that property.

There are minimum value amounts for all of these investments so many people choose the non-lucrative visa instead. With this you only need to show that you have sufficient funds to maintain living in Spain for ten years without needing permanent employment.

These financial requirements are much lower than those for the Golden visa so this is perhaps the most popular and easiest way to retire in Spain. To us, this looks like the best way to live in Spain. Of course, to live there you need a home.

Once again, the My Spain Visa law firm can help to simplify the entire process and make it easy to find the house of your dreams. Just imagine living in the beautiful hills and valleys of the Basque Country, or along the sunny seashores of the Mediterranean. It sounds idyllic… because it is!

Another huge benefit to remember with all of these visa options is that once you are approved you can travel and stay freely throughout the entire 26 members of the Schengen nations. That means that all of Europe, from Portugal to Finland, Greece to Iceland, and everywhere in between is completely open to visit and stay for a while whenever you like.

So, whether you want to continue to work as a digital nomad with a home base in Spain, or retire completely to simply enjoy the gorgeous countryside, culture, food, and weather the country has to offer, My Spain Visa can help make it happen.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Five Fabulous Favorites (that might be worth adding to your bucket list)

Without a doubt the most common question we are asked about our travels is “What is your favorite place?” We always say that it is nearly impossible to pick just one, but this handful are usually among the ones that spring to mind… CONTINUE READING >> 

As traveling comes back to normal, it seems as though this might be a good time for taking a look at the old bucket list.

We have been fortunate enough to check off many of ours, but without a doubt the most common question we are asked about our travels is “What is your favorite place that you have been?”

We always say that it is nearly impossible to pick just one, but this handful are always among the ones that spring to mind.

We present them here in no particular order:

The Galapagos Islands:

While this volcanic archipelago is best known for the wildlife that Charles Darwin introduced the world to in his The Voyage of the Beagle, much of which is exclusive to these isolated islands, the landscape is equally awe inspiring and ever changing. Each island offered a completely new environment from lush jungle to harsh lava flows.

The giant tortoises, red and blue footed boobies, and myriads of other birds that reside in this variable habitat are completely fearless of humans so our encounters were definitely up close and personal. Under the sea brought incredible encounters as well, when we swam with sea lions, turtles, marine iguanas, and tropical penguins.

Machu Picchu:

We visited this wonder of the world on the same trip as the Galapagos which, while providing for a fortnight of supreme sensory overload, made up the trip of a lifetime.

The inexplicable ruins more than deserve their stature as a bucket list must see, with their inexplicable architecture and sensational setting high in the Andes mountains, but there is much more to the area than the famous lost city, the entire Sacred Valley had us amazed at every turn.


We haven’t been everywhere (although it seems like it sometimes), but this might just be the friendliest place on earth! Although we were obviously “from away” we were welcomed with open arms at every stop.

We even got Screeched in, making us honorary citizens, better known as Newfies.

After our adventure we are convinced that the best way to see this amazing Atlantic outpost is by RV since, despite the fact that it is an island, we drove to Newfoundland.

Queensland, Australia:

Veronica is crazy for animals, any animals, so with the opportunity to hold a koala, pet kangaroos, see Tasmanian devils, walk by wallabies, cross paths with a cassowary, watch wombats, get to know kookaburras,  touch an echidna, and even feed crocs, Australia was an instant favorite in her book.

Add to that the chance to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and its no wonder we rate Queensland near the top of our list.

Cajun Country:

We wouldn’t want to overlook the good ol’ U S of A, and we don’t because we always include the unique culture that occupies the land of south Louisiana known as Acadiana in our tally of top choices.

This is not New Orleans, although we love the Big Easy too, Cajun Country has a history all of its own that traces back to Canada over a century ago.

So those are our most prevalent picks, but since we could hardly limit ourselves to only five destination we will add honorable mentions to Tanzania and Shanghai.

Wait, also Alaska, and Italy, and Prague, and so on, and so on, and so on…

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Doing Paris Like We Live There

We are heading back to France this week to visit our daughter’s family, including our one and only grandchild, so we thought we would revisit this story about seeing Paris more like a local than a tourist…


We are heading back to France this week to visit our daughter’s family, including our one and only grandchild, so we thought we would revisit this story about seeing Paris more like a local than a tourist.

A few years ago we did this before our bike journey across Normandy. We spent a few days hanging with our daughter and her French husband back before grand baby Bianca was born.

Our thinking then was that since we had been to Paris several times, we would like to see it the way they do… as home. So we set out to discover their neighborhood in the relaxed style of a local. This is our chance to do it again, but with a toddler in tow.

The city is divided into twenty numbered districts known as arrondissements and theirs, the 4th, runs along the north side of The Seine in the area around and including Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Very cool and all, but our mission was to avoid the tourist areas, so we explored the 4th by walking its streets, and popping in and out of shops and cafés. With our son in law Adrien guiding us, we spent our first morning on a shopping excursion in search of the ultimate bread and cheese.

It seems that every Parisian has their favorite spot for these, as well as wine, coffee, meats, produce, and pastries. While bopping from one store to another, we also discovered several hidden gardens behind the buildings that line the roads.

One of the largest, The Place des Vosges, was tucked away between our hotel and their apartment. The open area forms a huge courtyard surrounded by what was originally a royal palace.

After the revolution it became public, but remained home to the upper crust. That doesn’t keep regular citizens from enjoying the green space because all of the city’s parks are open to everyone. A more poignant park is concealed nearby, hidden down some narrow side streets.

For over one hundred years the le Marais district of the city has had a significant Jewish population, and in the heart of that community the Jardin des Rosiers pays tribute to a true hero.

Joseph Migneret directed the nearby École élémentaire des Hospitalières-Saint-Gervais boys’ school during World War II. When the Nazis began to deport students, he provided false papers and sheltered many, saving them from Auschwitz and death.

Despite his best efforts, as we entered the garden we noticed scores of children that did not escape are memorialized on a plaque.

On a much happier note, we found a perfect way to while away the afternoon when we rented an electric boat for a leisurely float along the Canal de l’Ourcq.

Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the canal to be built in 1802 in order to bring water to the city and aid shipping.  In more recent times it has become a favorite urban escape for Parisians.

We met up with Adrien’s parents at the boat, where they added wine and chicken to our cheese and bread for a simply sumptuous mobile picnic.

Later, we walked down to the Seine for a taste of how the locals end the day. Several bars and restaurants have set up tables by the river and it seemed as though half of the city comes here to socialize as the sun goes down.

After a toast to the day and a snack, we joined in with the crowds walking the path lining the right bank. The fading light proved perfect for a view of one of Paris’ overlooked architectural gems, city hall. The Hôtel de Ville has been the headquarters for the government of Paris since 1357 as well as where the mayor hosts grand receptions.

The next morning we rented bikes and set out along the river once again. With wheels under us, we could cover enough ground to cruise both the right and left banks. After riding a few miles, lo and behold it seemed no matter how hard we tried not to be tourists the Eiffel Tower was almost impossible to avoid.

Such a terrible problem to have… Waaaah, we have to see one of the world’s most famous landmarks!

We also had the chance to walk our bikes through the enormous Tuileries Garden. As with many of Paris’ green spaces, this began as the grounds of a palace, but was opened to the public later. Just one of the perks of post revolution France.

In the afternoon we strolled through the Bastille Square and up Boulevard Richard Lenoir to Belleville. This has long been a working class neighborhood, where immigrants from around the world settle after arriving, and still has that vibe. It is also quite famous among the French as the home of the iconic singer Édith Piaf.

We found a seat outside of a fantastic corner café to soak it all in. The Cannibale Café describes itself as “the ideal pied-à-terre for lovers of the neighborhood, world travelers, Sunday walkers and nocturnal animals.” No way that we could say it better. And yes, the name means what it sounds like, we asked.

Most all of our walks included discoveries of statues, notably American founding fathers Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who both spent a good deal of time in Paris. But we were more intrigued by the unfamiliar.

Just outside of our hotel we met Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. Truly a renaissance man, he worked as an inventor, musician, playwright, and publisher, but it was as a diplomat, spy, financier, and arms dealer that he played a pivotal, if unheralded, role in America’s revolutionary victory against the British.

We found our favorite statue at the nearby Place de la République. Marianne is a national symbol of liberty and reason symbolizing the triumph of the Republic. She is very similar to our own Lady Liberty which, of course, was a gift from France.

After a few days of immersion into day to day life in Paris, we set out by bike to Versailles , and then by boat all the way to the sea on an eight day Backroads Travel tour of Normandy.

We finished the tour back in Paris and the kids took us to another of their favorite places before we left for the airport, the Café des Musees. They boast of “The best Bœuf Bourguignon in Paris.”

Who are we to argue?  The beef is simmered for five hours in red wine sauce and served with carrots and mashed potatoes.

We can’t claim to be experts, but this was certainly the best we ever had.

Food is a huge part of life in Paris, and we found wonderful indulgences, not fancy but certainly delicious, everywhere we went.

Good thing too, because from there we were off to Iceland, home of some of the weirdest food we have ever eaten.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

I Located My 70s Prom Photo, and it’s Every Bit as Tragic as I Thought it Would Be!

I got a notice for a high school reunion the other day.Forty-five years!As my darling wife of thirty-nine of those would say, “That’s almost forty!”

David and his highschool sweetheart. Nice outfit! GypsyNester.com
Me and my high school sweetheart – we don’t call me The Beanpole for nothing. Also, the hair! The pants! The 70s down vest!

I got a notice for a high school reunion the other day.

Forty-five years!

As my darling wife of thirty-nine of those would say, “That’s almost forty!”

I wouldn’t have thought too much about the amount of time that has passed since my days at good old Southeast High until Classmates.com contacted us about trying out their website.

Sounded like fun so we said yes, and then started figuring just how long it had been since we graduated.

Veronica seemed to feel that the five years between us gave her some room for poking fun, but I thought it might give me a chance to catch up with some old friends and reacquaint with acquaintances before the big reunion.

Highschool aged David - the hat! The pants! GypsyNester.com
Going for the classic Cosmic Cowboy look of bell bottoms, tennis shoes, and Stetson straw hat. Thought I was pulling it off at the time, as in all this AND a bag of chips!

I jumped online and made a profile.

It was simple; I just uploaded a current photo (and an old one, just to remind people what I used to look like) and wrote a little bit about what has happened in my life over all those years.

After that, I entered my school and graduating class and, viola!

Up popped my Golden Buffaloes  yearbook.

I immediately remembered the cover and the name, Hoofbeats.

I could look through it online, but there was also an offer to buy a hard copy of the yearbook if I wanted one.

Of course, the first thing I did was look up my yearbook picture… O. M. G.!

Well, what can I say; it was the seventies after all, as if that made it okay to walk around with hair like that.

As I continued paging through the book, I found myself reminiscing down memory lane.

David's high school yearbook picture - junior year. GypsyNester.com
A bit of an Elvis sneer happening.

I looked up my favorite teacher, Mr. Hodges, who we always called Hodgy-baby.

I had also forgotten that our Golden Buffaloes won the State Championship in football my senior year.

Digging deeper, I found a picture of myself where I didn’t look like a complete geek.

It even looked like I might have been studying.

No, wait, on closer inspection it looks as though I might be asleep in an upright position.

A more likely scenario if my memory serves.

By now I was pretty much hooked, and everything I had been doing was free of charge, but by upgrading to a Classmates+ membership I could really start connecting with my old friends.

This way I could leave messages, share pictures, and get email updates to see who had visited my profile.

David in his highschool years. GypsyNester.com
Pulling off the rare sleeping upright like a horse while pretending to study move.

I browsed through and left a number of hellos along the way. It’s so easy to find old friends since you can search by maiden name.

That’s how I found my old best friend’s girlfriend, who is now his wife.

I had lost touch with them years ago so I wrote her a message. After a few days I got an email saying that she had replied. So I logged on and we conversed several times over the next few days through the website.

Now that we have caught up, we plan to meet in person next time we are in their hometown.

That experience got me thinking about my own high school sweetheart—the four of us were thick as thieves back in the day—but she was a class ahead of me so wasn’t in my yearbook.

That’s when I noticed that I could see books from other years too, so I looked back one year and found my girlfriend in the class of ’76.

David's high school photo-senior year! GypsyNester.com

Then it hit me—my chance for redemption! Perhaps my junior year picture was not as pathetic as my senior photo. No such luck.

That seventies hair was every bit as bad, if not worse, in this one.

That got me thinking, if ever there was a quintessential picture of bad hair and silly seventies-style outfits it was my prom photo.

My tux was an absolute classic—at least that’s the way I remember it. I know there were pictures, I had seen them long ago.

I don’t know if I ever had a copy, if I did it is long lost like our adolescent puppy love.

But maybe, just maybe she had kept one—no doubt purely for the comedy.

So I sent a message just to say hi and she replied. We caught up with each other (sounded like we both ended up with the right person after all) and then I asked if she had any pictures of us, especially ones featuring my hideous tuxedo.

In no time at all she sent several, including the two above and the game show host monstrosity below.

Along with a note teasing, “Enjoy the ribbing from your kids.”

David's prom photo, the hair! The tux! GypsyNester.com

She should have saved it for blackmail purposes.

David, GypsyNester.com

Thanks to Classmates.com for providing access and compensation for this hysterical blast from the past! As always, all opinions are our own—including the commentary on my horrible 70s clothing choices!

YOUR TURN: Was I stylin’ or what? Tell us your favorite blast-from-the-past reunion story!