The Life Saver at the 1968 Reunion

You can prepare and prepare and prepare all day and night for an event.

And the last thing you expect – the one thing that could derail your entire event – could happen right then and there.

It happened yesterday morning.  And it threatened to screw up an event I was scheduled for that night.

Explanation time.

Last evening, I was scheduled to give a keynote speech at the Albany High School Class of 1968 50th anniversay reunion.  I was recommended by someone who had heard I gave a rousing speech at the AHS Class of 1964 reunion … who in turn had heard I had brought the house down with my Albany High School Class of 1962 reunion two years prior.

Word of mouth is a great thing.

I have a lot of errands that morning – so into the car I go.

Start the car.

It sputtered before actually starting.

Hmm.  Dracourage shouldn’t sputter.  This is not normal.

Stopped at the gas station to fill my tank.

Started the car again.


That’s not good.

Turn the key again.


Okay.  Time for the emergency maneuver.

And by “Emergency Maneuver,” I mean going to my wallet, fishing out my AAA card (I’m a top level member and have been for the past fourteen years).  I explained to the operator what had happened.

Thirty minutes later, a tow truck arrived.

The technician attached cables to my car engine.  A few minutes later, he said to me, “Your battery has died.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.  Of course he was sure.  It’s a normal response from me when I hear that someone has died.

“Your battery was factory installed with your car.  It’s an AC Delco battery, and it’s at least six years old.  We can jump start you and you can drive to your local repair shop or auto parts store to get a new battery, or we can tow you to your auto shop for repairs … or we can install a new battery for you.”

“You carry batteries?”

“We do,” he smiled.  “And they’re guaranteed.  And you get a AAA discount.”

Twenty minutes later, Dracourage was back to life with a new heart transplant.  Memo to all readers – invest in a AAA membership.  You will be glad you did.

Took care of all my driving chores and made it to the reunion on time.  Aces.

Oh, and if you’re going to prepare for a speech of a graduating class’s reunion … it helps to read up on their yearbook.  Thankfully, the Albany Public Library has copies of most local school yearbooks in their Pruyn History Library nook, and they also had microfilms of the Albany newspapers from the late 1960’s.

It was through that detective work that I could find out, for example, that the AHS football team had a 2-5 season that year – but it was a successful season, in that one of the wins was a 7-6 triumph over Philip Schuyler High School.

And how fitting it was that the AHS quarterback and receiver were BOTH at the reunion when I retold the story of how the quarterback went to his right and hit the open receiver for the AHS touchdown and the win.

The speech was fun, it was a great night, and I’m very thankful to have enjoyed the company of the Albany High School Class of 1968’s reunion.

And even though my wallet was a smidge lighter in the morning …

My heart was a lot brighter by the evening.