(My “editor” is resting from yesterday’s events so please excuse typos, etc. I have a difficult time editing myself, but I felt a need to get this out, given the time of year it is…)
It’s a fine Sunday morning here on the porch. A “cold front” came through last night and the morning was a bit cooler than recent days. Instead of triple digits we’re looking at the mid-nineties temperature-wise, so I’ll take the “cool” whenever and wherever I can get it. The last couple of days have been rough – my air conditioner in the truck went out followed by the driver’s side door latch breaking. Of course, it waited until after my mechanic was closed for the weekend. That’s just the way things go sometimes…
It’s hard to believe it’s already June. Graduation season is in full swing. My granddaughter, Baillie, graduated yesterday. It probably just me, but she looked different after the ceremony – more like a young adult than a graduating teenager – and I felt myself beaming on the inside. She’s growing up and I’m so proud of her. Her parents like to remind me of her “imperfections” and I know that no one, not even my granddaughter, is perfect. Still, as her grandfather, it’s my prerogative to see only the “perfect” young lady she’s become.
She’ll be starting college in the Fall and I’m somewhat relieved that it’ll be here at Tarrant County Community College, so she can nail down her basic curriculum before moving a little farther north to finish at the University of North Texas. I’m a little envious. College was a great time in my life. For her parent’s sake, I hope she doesn’t follow my path though. I liked it so much that I attended on the “ten-year plan…”
As I sat through the ceremony yesterday, I was reminded that some things have changed since my own graduation. For one, it appeared that everyone wore clothes underneath their graduation gowns. That wasn’t the case when I graduated. Of course, my ceremony was held outside at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver and several classmates chose to wear shorts under their gowns. Unfortunately, not everyone wore anything! In the mid-seventies, the cultural fad called “streaking” had reached its peak during my senior year. Today such behavior would be rewarded with a designation as a sex offender. Anyway…
I know there will be a whole host of new memories created as she grows and blossoms into adulthood, but I’m feeling a little melancholy this morning. Baillie’s not a little girl anymore. She’s a beautiful young lady. It’s silly to think that I can ride around with her in my old truck, singing silly songs, and talking about things that mean absolutely nothing to anyone else but us. She’s moving into adulthood with all the prerequisite changes that come with it – new friends, new places, and new experiences. I’ve known that since she became a teenager – schedules and obligations change so there’s less time for grandpa – but high school graduation seems so final. If I dwell on that, things could get depressing real fast. So today I chose to dwell on the happiness I feel when we get time together. The melancholy takes on a whole new face…
I don’t run around with that “little” girl any more, but I have happy, cherished memories of the times we spent together in those younger days. Besides, when we do get time together today, I spend it with an incredible, beautiful young lady. I enjoy our dinner’s out and the talks we have. The conversation may be different, but she’s still my little girl and for that I’m truly grateful. We still get to make memories together, and they will be as cherished as all the rest.
That being said, I feel a little older now that her graduation has come and gone. Between Baillie’s graduation and the recurring medical issue that I’m dealing with are making me feel older than I am. The world is changing, kids grow up, and I find a few more wrinkles, aches, and pains in places I’ve never had them before. I’d love to say that I have no regrets about the last sixty years, but I’d be lying. There are things I wish I’d done differently, especially with my kids, even if they’ve all contributed to making me the person I am today. Besides, I probably have a lot more years to travel this path and looking backward probably slows me down. I try to travel light. God and a lot of grace has helped me lay down a lot of excess baggage.
I’m not always comfortable with the journey. Things are difficult to understand sometimes. For instance, Friday I was scanning through my news feed and I found that words don’t mean what they did when I was a kid. According to the Washington Post, Trump (I still can’t use “President” and Trump in the same sentence!) has been in office 497 days and made “false or misleading statements” to the public 3,251 times. That’s an average of 6.52 times a day. Apparently, “false and misleading statements” are not that big a deal anymore.
When I was a kid, they called “false and misleading statements”, lies. I used to get my butt smacked or sent to my room if I was caught lying. “Even a half-truth is a whole lie” as my friend Jim used to say. I should have told my parents I was just making “false and misleading statements”. Maybe I could have been President…
I hope that Baillie and her classmates don’t put up with “false and misleading statements”. I hope they are never afraid to call a lie a lie. As I watched them come forward one by one, name by name, to receive their diploma I felt hopeful – maybe their youthful idealism doesn’t have to fade away like so many generations before. After all, human history doesn’t have a great track record, but then again, weren’t records meant to be broken?
I haven’t always been so hopeful about the future. As an employer, I’ve dealt with employees and prospective employees that people call “millennials” and quite frankly, “hopeful” isn’t an adjective I used very often. If it wasn’t my granddaughter’s graduating class I’d probably feel somewhat apprehensive about the future with them as well. It’s more likely that seeing her class reminds me that we’re all given another chance to change the future every day – none of us has to “settle” – and the grace I’ve discovered, so much later in life, is available to them every day as well. And that my friends, gives me hope…
2 thoughts on “Pomp and Circumstance…”
Greg, why don’t you either write a book or turn these little vignettes into one? You write so beautifully that I’m sure it would become well read.
Thank you Lin. That has been suggested by several people and I’m actually looking into it with a local publisher. I think about you guys often and miss seeing you.