Seven years. That is how long it had been since I had stepped foot in Valders, WI. It is a typical Wisconsin village with a population of 948 people. There is nothing special about it unless a shit ton of limestone gets you excited. That might be the case for geologists and chalk companies, but not for anyone who grew up there. So, in summation, Valders is a dinky little hole.
Seriously, I didn’t ever realize just how empty Valders is. Now that I have three years in Green Bay and seven in Whitewater under my belt, I can see just how bored I would be if I lived there. This is especially alarming since I have often said that both Green Bay and Whitewater didn’t have much to offer as well. It literally takes like 40 seconds to drive through town. However, you do have to go 25 or the one cop in town will pull your ass over because he has nothing better to do. Then again, if real crimes happened, he wouldn’t know how to deal with them. Writing speeding tickets is easy.
The local Piggly Wiggly in Valders turns out to be a lot smaller than I remember it being. I must have become spoiled with the Super Wal-Marts and Woodman’s that I have had in my life since I went to college. When I was a kid, the place seemed so damn big to me. Hell, the entire town seemed big. It is literally a 5-10 minute walk to anywhere you want to get. The real laughable point about the grocery store is that it closes at 8 pm every night. Holy crap! I could not live in Valders at this point in my life. I really appreciate the luxury of being able to get things when I want to. The problem is that the gas stations aren’t even open past 11 pm. There is just nothing there. Now I know why most of the people at the reunion were living in other parts of the state.
On a side note, I am currently viewing the climactic ending of a SyFy Channel movie called Swamp Devil. It is utterly exhilarating. There is this giant man shaped creature made of plants chasing after some women played by actresses who aren’t good enough to be in real movies, but also not willing to run the train in the porno industry. Everything I just told you makes it clear that this is not exactly “The Exorcist” that I am watching. I am not exactly sure why I expect it to make any sense or to follow any code of logic, but I just found myself criticizing it as if I was let down. All I understood of it is that for some reason this Swamp Devil couldn’t cross the county line. In the 20 minutes I watched, they didn’t explain why this was. There is a good chance that such a movie never bothered to explain it in the first place. So, what is with the county line? Was Swamp Devil released on bond before his day in court? Is he wearing an ankle bracelet and is on house arrest? Is there a restraining order? Maybe a mystical curse doesn’t allow it? Spoiler alert! The monster jobs on a truck to attack a woman, but dies when it crosses the county line. There. Now you saved two hours.
To get back on track, let me simplify this weekend’s events into one statement. It was a relief. There was a moment of enlightenment when I realized that we all were in the same boat. Now, some people may have met their goals in life, but nobody from my class was living it large with a private jet with super models hanging from both arms. Many of us were grinding out 40 hours a week in cubicles. Others are busting their ass in a classroom. Some are still furthering their education. The thing we all seemed to have in common is that we are working hard for what we got. Nobody suddenly fell into some money or found a career that has them immediately set for life. The post college landscape was the same for all of us. It was a relief to know that I was not alone. However, I may be only one of two or three people to still own a Jon Waack Fan Club shirt. Maybe I should get those reprinted and sell them on Ebay.