When five teenagers sat down and posed for a picture at Copco Lake in 1982, they didn’t plan to make it a tradition. But that’s what it has become.
It all started with John’s grandparents. They had built a hut on the lake in the mid-seventies. John used to go fishing there with his grandfather. “I wanted to share this place with my friends so I invited Brian, Mark, Dallas and David to join me there,” says John. “We finished high school and it was our last summer before going to college so we wanted to relax, have fun and forget about the responsibilities we were expected to take on.” The first photograph of the high school friends was just accidental. Brian grabbed John’s camera, gathered all his friends and set the self-timer to take a group photo. It showed five teens, three of them without their T-shirts on, with hairdos typical of the time. David is pictured holding a coffee jar with a cockroach inside, which the guys kept as a pet.
They went to Copco Lake again in 1987. One day when Brian set his camera to take a group photo, John suggested they could recreate the 1982 pose in the photo and together with Dallas worked on the details. And then Mark said it would be fun to do it every five years. The others liked his idea and in this way a tradition was born.
In the latest picture they took they are sitting in identical positions with unchanged, mysterious expressions on their faces. The day is cloudy just like in 1982, when the first photo was taken. David is holding a pet cockroach in a different jar, though. “We haven’t changed much since we were teenagers,” John laughs. “But we all decided this time it was better to take the photo with our T-shirts on.”
Since the first photo together, the men have gone their own ways, but they all agree that those trips to the lake have been the glue that keeps them together. They do everything to meet every five years. They’ve even agreed to collect money if one of them isn’t able to afford the trip. “I remember one time my flight was cancelled and I drove all night to get to Copco Lake on time and pose for the photo,” Brian recalls. “We want to keep this tradition for the rest of our lives, no matter what. If one of us were in hospital, others would probably find a way to bring him there anyway,” he says jokingly.
adapted from edition.cnn.com