Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Graduation Inquisition

Five and a half hours in a Suburban one way.  Three hundred and thirty minutes in an enclosed, intimate space.  Three hundred of those minutes were spent under fire - a ping pong match of questions.  At an average of 4 questions per minute, that comes to roughly 1400 questions.

What is the population of Post?  I don't know.  Have you ever met the mayor?  No.  How many gallons does your gas tank hold?  Can't remember.  Have you ever been to Indonesia?  No.  What is the population of Sweetwater?  I don't know.  How many churches do they have?  Beats me.  Have you visited any of those churches?  We went to First Baptist when we lived here 30-some-odd years ago. Is every denomination represented in Sweetwater?  I'm not sure.  Have you ever been on a German river cruise on the Rhine River?  No.  Are those windmills over there?  Yes.  Do they generate electricity?  Yes.  Do you use the electricity they generate?  No.  Why is that?  [unintelligible response]  Are there windmills in Lubbock?  A few.  Why aren't there as many as they have here?  I don't know.  What is the population of Abilene?  I don't know.  Do you know anyone who lives there?  No.  [default answer]  How many churches do they have?  I don't know.  Is every denomination represented?  I'm not sure.  Have you ever eaten at Denny's?  Yes.  What did you have to eat there?  Pancakes.  Have you ever met the mayor of Abilene?  No.  Do you know his name?  No.  Which state senator represents the citizens of Abilene in Austin, Texas?  Don't know.  Have you ever met the mayor of Lubbock?  No.

Bryce, our middle child, invited Leonard (The Meems best friend at Raider Ranch) to Baylor graduation way back in the fall.  Leonard, who hails from Baltimore, was thrilled to have the opportunity to explore his newly adopted state.  He also LOVES information - brochures, historical markers, mileage signs, menus.  Combine the two factors, and there you have it. 1400 questions.

Last Thursday morning, we loaded up 2 vehicles and headed east to see Bryce graduate from Baylor.  Alan drove the Suburban which was filled with graduation decor, surprises,  moving boxes, Nana and Leonard.  I drove the Altima with the hanging clothes, luggage and Mimi.  I sort of orchestrated the vehicle arrangements with my ears in mind.  "Alan, will be your tour guide, Leonard!  He knows more about what all you're going to see than I do!"  Heh.  Heh.  Heh.

When our caravan stopped for lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Abilene, I asked Alan how his journey was going.  "Questions.  Questions.  Questions," he replied dully.  He was, however, still in good spirits.  He has been gifted with an ocean of patience when it comes dealing with the elderly and the curious.

By the time we reached Waco, a tiny grimace was forming on Alan's face.  "Good drive?" asked I.  "I don't know how someone could EVER ask that many questions," said he gritting his teeth.  "I finally just answered 'don't know' to every question so that I wouldn't have to think," he added.  I chuckled.

The weekend was glorious!  College graduation is way more fun than high school graduation!  There were cheers for each grad - parents who were celebrating "pay day" like us.  Oh, there was one hitch in the festivities.  Nana fell at the hotel and cracked her pelvis.  We were rescued by Alan's sister who drove down from Dallas to be with Nana in the hospital.  Life gets so exciting sometimes!

What?  Oh, you're wondering how my drive to Waco went?  It was awesome!  I downloaded Carol Burnett's book, This Time Together:  Laughter and Reflection.  The Meems and I laughed and reflected for 5.5 hours.  The time simply flew by!

Leonard did ask me a few questions in the car as we drove from lunch at the Elite Cafe to graduation at the Ferrell Center.  "Are you and Alan going to get to march in the procession with Bryce?"  "Uh, no."  "Is that right?  Will you put his 'colors' on him when they call out his name?"  Uh, no.   "Hmm.  That's the way they did it when I graduated.  The parents got to march in with their graduate.  They got to put the colors on 'em when their name was called."  "I don't think that they do that anymore."  [OK.  I'll be honest.  I was quite sure that hasn't happened at Baylor since before long before I graduated from there in 1979.]  "Will we go to the dinner honoring the graduates and their families this evening?"  "I don't think that there's any place in Waco that could serve that many people.  Alan made reservations for us at a restaurant."  "So, that means we're not going to the dinner honoring the graduates and there families?"  I almost bit a hole in my tongue.

We now have a 4th generation Baylor alum in our family!  The trip was totally worth the questions, the cracked pelvis, the wheelchair [for Meems, the slow walker]!

Congratulations, Bryce!!  You've been there!  You've done that!  We are so proud!!

We love you, Leonard!  We were so proud that you were able to join us for this momentous occasion!  Did you have fun?  What did you eat at the Elite?  How was your hotel room?  Did you enjoy the hotel breakfast?  Did you have eggs?  Toast?  Waffles?  Was the weather good?  Did you get to shake Judge Starr's hand?  Did they ask for all of Bryce Lackey's loved ones to stand and be recognized?  Have you been to Alabama with a banjo on your knee?

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