Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Will It Be Like in Twenty Years

This was the last full week of summer. Next week school begins, at least in my neck of the woods. From reading comments on Facebook and Twitter, along with more traditional sources of news, I understand that for many of you school has already started. My daughters would say to you, “That’s ridiculous. Ain’t nobody got time for that going to school and listening to muddle-headed teachers yet.” Let me extend my apologies to all of you teachers, we really do appreciate you.

Eldest, being in college, has been back to school for a week. Monday, her first day back, was Convocation, a deeply symbolic service, celebrating the return of professors and students to campus.  Professors dress in full academic regalia, the Grand Marshall of the college carries the College Mace (a great big stick with some goo-gaw on top, like a royal scepter only for collegiate setting) and leads a processional down the main aisle of the auditorium. I have no idea how the Grand Marshall is chosen; I think perhaps the faculty chooses one of their members who isn’t afraid of walking down the aisle and carrying a big stick.

And so, during Convocation, the campus, dusty and bored from the summer absence of students and faculty, enfolds the new and returning students and faculty into it’s protective embrace, yet again.

I did not attend Convocation this year and haven’t attended since my years as a student. However, after Convocation I did attend a luncheon on campus, with Beloved. Prior to the actual luncheon there was a punch hour. Now, it sounds as if this college has a violence problem, what with Mace at Convocation and punch hour prior to a luncheon. I assure you that it is a very non-violent place and I saw no evidence of a pugilistic melee prior to the meal. At the punch hour, I ran across the college’s 

First Lady. To be clear, I did not literally run across her, that would be considered vehicular assault, and I am first, non-violent (despite playing violin from elementary school and into college. Yes, it is the same college where Eldest now attends.), and I am a professional driver.
The First Lady, although not imposing in stature, certainly commands attention with her warm spirit, keen intellect, and that warm Texas twang in her voice. As she made her way around the room, she stopped to share a funny story with me.

She shared a scene she saw in Convocation, this most pompous of circumstances, with the dimly lit auditorium, quiet music playing, the soft swishing of the robes as the faculty wait in the wings for the cue for the Grand Marshall to commence the procession. At the outset of this regal event, she watched as Eldest, and one of her biffles (my children tell me that biffle means, best friend for life) saw and greeted each other.

“Now mind you, these two haven’t seen each other for, what? All of twenty minutes. When they saw each other, they hugged and squealed and jumped up and down, like they hadn’t seen each other in years. I can only imagine what homecoming will be like for them in twenty years,” she said.

So, gentle reader, whether you are hugging this new school year and jumping up and down with glee, or you are entering it with all the seriousness of the Grand Marshall carrying the big stick, do it with all your heart.

Even Littlest, who suspects that all teachers are escapee’s from a lunatic asylum, have absolutely no idea how to teach, and who does not want to go back to school to sit under their tutelage, has decided to complain about this year with all her heart.

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