Forty years ago, five recent graduates from Santa Barbara High School gathered together at a relative’s cabin on Copco Lake in California for a boys’ weekend.
In between hikes, pranks, and boating, John Dickson, Dallas Burney, Mark Rumer-Cleary, Jon Molony, and John “Wedge” Wardlaw took a moment to pose for a photo on the cabin’s back deck. Three of the men are shirtless, a hat perches on someone’s knee, and one man holds up a jar just so.
These details would become important later!
Five years later, the men decided to check back in with the group and gather at the cabin once again. They made their traditional “wedge” taco dinner — which involves making a regular taco and then frying it on a blazing hot frying pan — went swimming, and of course, took another picture. They made sure to get all of the details just right to recreate the photograph.
The year was 1987, and a new tradition was born!
The men continued their tradition every 5 years for the next 35 years. In 2017, CNN shared the photos and story online, introducing viral fame to the group. Suddenly, they started getting recognized when they were out in public. Mark says he’s been stopped in the street before, which is wild considering how different he looks as an adult.
“It’s happened to me for a couple reasons,” he said. “I’m 6-foot-6 and I have facial hair. They won’t pick it out right off the bat. ‘You look familiar, I can’t tell why.'”
The friends were due to reconvene in 2022, but there was just one snag. In 2019, Dallas, the man sitting in the middle of the photo, was diagnosed with liposarcoma. He and his friends feared they’d snapped their last photo of the whole group together.
“I was crushed,” said John.”We worried there would be an empty spot on the bench where we take the picture.”
Dallas had a large cancerous tumor removed from his leg. While he suffers some mobility issues, he can still walk, and he’s grateful to be alive. The friends hadn’t gathered since 2017 due to Dallas’s cancer and the pandemic, so they were overjoyed to see one another in 2022. And, of course, they posed for “the photo.”
This is such a beautiful way to document enduing friendship! We’re so glad Dallas is healthy again, and we salute these gentlemen for having the foresight to start such a cool tradition all those years ago. We can’t wait to see them again in 2027!
Want more good news?
Sign up for Smile, our free daily good news email with over 600,000 happy and optimistic subscribers!
You share, we give! Every time you share an article, we donate to Smile Train to provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need.
$14.70 raised today! Learn more here.
Share to Give!
Every time you share an article, we donate to Smile Train to help provide life-changing cleft surgeries to children in need. Spread good news, change lives! Learn more here.
$14.70 raised today!
Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.