Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Big Night

Summer evenings on the Coastal Plains of Texas can often mean muggy, sticky, mosquito ridden hours that go on forever. This evening however was different for a couple of reasons.

First, a mild “cool” front came through. All that means is that the pressure is high and the humidity is low. Weather reports had it at around 39% today; normally it’s 90% or higher. High temp was in the low 90’s. The evening turned off really nice, just a few small clouds, a soft South breeze. Mosquitoes were hunting in the cow pastures.

They missed a bonanza, because there was a stadium full of warm-blooded family and friends making ready to witness the graduating class of 2009. I was there because my middle daughter was one of the 496 eager grads just outside the stadium. They were all wearing their orange caps and gowns, the girls’ hair all straightened and/or curled, the boys’ necks all crammed into buttoned collars and ties. No doubt most of them were visited by butterflies and flop sweat.

As the stands filled up with interested and obligated spectators and the sun edged down, the breeze was refreshing and made the hard bleachers a little less offensive. The only thing we were concerned with was saving space for my parents, who were to be a little late. Even that assignment was made bearable by the parade of humanity in a variety of forms that issued past us.

This being Alvin, the Alvin ISD police were checking bags on the way in; they banned the air horns and cowbells and all manner of obnoxious noisemakers that had plagued previous graduations. The reason being, enthusiastic family cheering for one graduate virtually obliterated the names of the next three or four kids. So much for the dignity of the ceremony.

The graduates filed into the stadium single file down the track on each side. I was told that we should be on the South side. Sure enough, of the four hundred ninety-something high school seniors mine was there way back in the back with the “S’s”.

As I watched her in her orange cap and gown, I had that strange feeling that amounts to wonder at the speed of life. *Cliché alert*; It seems like such a short time ago that she was just a little kid running around the house with a busted piñata on her head. No, really. She has grown up so much. She is over five feet nine inches tall, and with the shoes she wore, she was nearly six feet even. Taller than nearly all of the girls and a great percentage of the guys. She looked like royalty, striding along the padded track with her wide, bright smile and her long blonde hair. Like Graduate Barbie.

Now she was in a group of kids that had gone through 12 years of school together, and were about to hit the streets as real people. They filed onto the new field of artificial turf filled with an army of chairs in a long, neat rectangle.

The crowd settled down and the color guard came out, the national anthem was played by the band, minus the seniors. The introductions of the officials were made and the speeches were speeched by the student class president and the smart kids. The top 10% was introduced, honors made and the long list of graduates’ names was read.

We sat through the lengthy list, waiting for the nineteenth letter of the alphabet that would signal Katie’s moment. We watched as her row stand up and walk to the staging area to be called up to receive their “diploma”.

Hearing her name, our entire group stood up and yelled, “Yay Katie!”. I texted her later during her time of Project Graduation all-night-soirée and asked if she had heard our exclamation. Her reply was, “LOL yah! ☺”. It made me feel good to have been noticed from that far away.

I am proud of my girl. She took the Math classes that I didn’t even know existed. As a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone in my immediate family has even touched that level of ciphering unscathed.

She is one of the reasons that I have to go on, and I love her so much. Congratulations Katie-Belle.


Stepsistah said...

Reminds me of my graduation in the Colliseum in downtown Houston 1964...the airhorns did drown out the next 3-4 names.

Congrats on your middle baby graduating. AND...she knows MATH...WOW...I am really impressed!

Falcon said...

Send my Congratulations to your daughter and I welcome you and your wife into the ranks of the poor college parents. It looks like my youngest will be graduating from UHCLC in Decemeber (no bugs or humidity)

innominatus said...

Congrats to both dad and grad. You are rightfully proud. If we can get a few more like your daughter, the next generation may just turn out OK after all.

PS - Alvin, isn't that Nolan Ryanville?

aA said...

Good catch, Innominatus! Yes, he was borned-ed and raised in Alvin. My Dad has seen him around town, he's a really big guy.

Falcon, Congratulations on your impending celebration. You oughta make her keep paying tuition to YOU...she's learned more from you than UHCLC could ever teach her!

Stepsistah, "KNOWS math" and "relatively uninjured by math" are two completely different things!

DammitWomann said...

Congrats to her PARENTS as well. A milestone in her life, as well as yours.

Good job Dad!

Anonymous said...

Darn, I missed a Wordy Guy! I guess that's what I get for not be a regular reader :(

Howlsatmoon said...