MONIQUE BATSON — Who needs class reunions when you have the Heritage Festival?

Published 12:24 am Friday, January 28, 2022

We are less than two months away before Spring Break, and we all know what that means — especially if you grew up in Mid County.

That sound you hear is crash dieting happening in homes all around you. Sure, we all had some sort of New Year’s wish to get back in shape; but now is when we start to actually use that gym membership.

Women are about to start tending to roots like never before, and there won’t be a set of nails around that haven’t been manicured.

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You won’t find bread in anyone’s pantry; there’s no room for carbs now.

Men will see the bottom part of their face for the first time in almost a year as they finally tend to those beards.

Hairdressers are about to have blisters on their hands from the increasing number of clients. And everyone will be shopping around for the perfect thing to wear no matter the temperature.

There won’t be any bathing suits involved; we’re not going to the beach.

No, we’re going to the Nederland Heritage Festival.

Or, if you graduated from there like I did, you’re headed to your class reunion.

Sure, we see each other on Facebook and even talk often with people we barely knew when we actually were in school.

But this isn’t social media. There are no filters. There’s no way to hide.

You will run into everyone you’ve ever known.

There are the ones who were those best friends you thought you’d never live without that you haven’t seen since graduation.

There’s the first boyfriend/girlfriend you had in 9th grade — the one you thought you’d marry and live happily ever after with — and now you’re introducing each other to your spouses.

There’s the people whose face you recognize but names got buried somewhere behind useless song lyrics you can’t let go of, so you’re all, “hey…. you!”

There’s the one (or few) you can’t wait to say hi to that forgot who you are.

There are the ones you didn’t care much for that you will literally run into somewhere in the food lane.

And there’s the ones you kind of recognize but aren’t really sure so all of a sudden you find yourself extremely invested in the safety rules for the tug boat ride that you’re clearly to old to be on.

At some point in time you’ll feel like you’ve entered some strange time warp, because certain groups of friends that were always together in high school find each other and bunch around the Ferris wheel to catch up on everything that’s happened since 1999.

And finally, there’s that one person — your high school crush, the one whose name you doodled in your diary but never had the nerve to actually talk to. He or she will, to your surprise, know your name and remember you instantly. They’ll want to say “hello” and catch up. And they’ll do so right as you take a giant bite of the messiest barbecue sandwich you’ve ever had in your life.

Yes, your high school dreamboat will finally reveal that he or she knew you all along while you have barbecue sauce dripping down your face to follow the ketchup you already dropped on your shirt from the fries.

But, I’ve finally reached the age where my kids are old enough to be dropped off and picked up, or ride with friends. Gone are the days of wearing uncomfortable shoes more appropriate for a nightclub than a carnival. I no longer have to prove to my children that I’m still young enough to ride the Zipper more than once — or worse, convince them to ride it with me because, even at 40, I don’t want to go alone.

Sure, I’ll likely go at some point to listen to the music and enjoy the annual shot of nostalgia. But the food is coming back home with me. That’s not a lesson I need to learn twice.


Monique Batson is the Port Arthur Newsmedia editor and can be reached at