After months of planning, this past weekend was the Paris High School 10 Year Reunion for the Class of 2003. I was excited to spend a weekend at home with my family and old friends. I know everyone had different experiences in high school, but I have (mostly) very fond memories of my time growing up in Paris and at Paris High.
And coming back for Homecoming and our reunion reminded me of what is so great about growing up in a small town: the sense of community! While growing up, was it annoying at times that everyone in town knew your business? Sure! But it also makes coming back home such a pleasure. To run into old teachers, folks from church, and your friends' parents everywhere you go around town, whether it's at restaurants, the grocery store, or the high school football game. The smiles, embraces, catching up on your lives -- it's home. A home where many of our families have known each other for generations. But let's not get too sappy here! It was a weekend of celebration! Here are the highlights:
It's a tradition for my husband and I to stop at Whataburger on the long drive from DFW airport to Paris, one that we eagerly anticipate since we live in a Whataburger-less wasteland. Driving down the interstate with a burger in one hand and a Dr Pepper in the other, we know we're back home.
2. TexMex!Our first lunch when visiting Paris is almost always TexMex. We have a few favorites around town, but this time we went to La Familia. After their chips and salsa and a combination plate with a cheese enchilada, a sour cream chicken enchilada, rice, and beans, all was right with the world again.
3. Seeing Old Friends and Family
This is really the best part about coming home (followed closely by the overabundance of delicious TexMex).
4. The Homecoming Pep RallyFriday afternoon we stopped by the Homecoming pep rally to represent the Class of '03 with some other classmates. They've built a new high school since I graduated, so things are a little different these days, but the pep rally itself was about the same as those I remember. And it was so much fun getting to share it with my husband!
It brought back fond memories of my own Senior Homecoming Pep Rally!
5. Hanging Out in Beautiful Downtown Paris
After the pep rally, we headed to downtown to grab a spot to watch the Homecoming parade go by. I really love the square (which is literally a square around a beautiful marble fountain). People have put in so much hard work to restore a lot of the historical buildings, and it shows. We plopped down on a bench and enjoyed the breezy warm day and watched kids play around the fountain until it was time for the parade to start.
6. The Homecoming Parade
We could hear the drums coming, as the band led the parade through downtown and around the square followed by the cheerleaders and drill team, the Homecoming Queen nominees, the mascot, emergency vehicles with sirens blaring, and floats full of kids throwing candy!
7. Small Town Texas FootballAfter a fantastic all-you-can-eat fried catfish dinner at The Fish Fry with my parents and grandparents, we went to see the Paris Wildcats take on the Melissa Cardinals. This was my first game to attend in about 8 years! No one gets into their high school football like small towns in Texas, and even when your team is terrible (like ours is at the moment), it's such a community event and so much fun!
8. The Reunion Itself!Saturday was the big day for the official reunion. That afternoon we hosted a picnic at Wade Park. We took field trips to the park in elementary school when we would climb the big red rocket or see how high we could reach on the swings.
Tortellini Salad, Kale Salad with Pecorino and Lemon, and Rosemary and Lemon White Bean Dip with pita chips. Mom also threw in homemade peanut butter cookies with Reese's Pieces, some sweet Texas cantaloupe, and a jar of water with lemon and mint. Perfect for a hot summer day (it's in no way fall yet in Texas). After the picnic, we began setting up for the evening event, a semi-formal dinner.
Making the mustaches and bowties was super quick and easy, and they were so popular. I simply printed out patterns I found online (here and here), traced them onto glittery foam "paper" that I found at the craft store, cut them out, and hot glued them to wooden dowels (also from the craft store).
9. BarbequeLast but not least, what trip to Texas is complete without barbeque? We arrived at DFW around lunchtime on Sunday, so clearly we had to get barbeque at Cousin's. Granted, it's airport barbeque, but even airport barbeque in Texas is 100 times better than any you'll find in Boston! Until next time, Texas!