Food, friends, reuniting with fine people: I was all of that this past weekend, in Austin. I graduated from high school in Kaiserslautern, Germany, West Germany to be exact, for it was before the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification of Ost und West. This weekend about 200 of my fellow graduates from Kaiserslautern American High School were in Austin, at an all-class reunion. Some of them I know and love, others are strangers, having graduated in 1965, or 1972, or another year before or after my time at that wonderful Department of Defense school in the Pfalz. No matter whether I know them or not, they are special people, our bond formed by days and nights and years spent in a magical land, full of beauty and culture and fine beer and great Rieslings.

We reunite fairly often, in Seattle or Las Vegas or Orlando; some of us have been lucky enough to spend time together in Kaiserslautern or Paris or Munich or New York; I have over the years caught up with fellow Red Raiders in all of those places. In 2013 Angela and I shared a great weekend with Beth Spencer Dixon and her family in North Carolina. We roasted a suckling pig, put together a Low Country boil, and drank some great wines and beers, and Tina’s coffee. It was the perfect weekend.

I am also reuniting with Constance and Alison, two beautiful woman who hired me this past year to cook the food for their wedding, which took place on Nantucket. They flew Angela and me up to that storied little island and we and 50 lucky guests witnessed a lovely ceremony. On Saturday night we cooked at their home in Austin. A few people came, including Jack and his wife, Suze. Another reunion. Jack and I have been friends since 1989; we met when we both worked at a bookstore, Fleming Books, in Huntsville, Alabama. We bonded over James Joyce and coffee and walks on Monte Sano.

I love all of these people, and my life is richer for knowing them.

I am a lucky man. A lucky man, indeed.