Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pomp and circumstances

Tomorrow is graduation day for the CU Boulder Class of 2009.

Has it really been 19 years?

August 1985 to May 1990. Five years, not bad for a self-supported ride. Working full time, taking night classes on a Visa card with a $500 limit when the financial aid stretched thin. Changing work clothes into campus gear in fast food bathrooms or the front seat of my 1978 Dodge Colt (more often than not running late class-to-class dressed like Molly Ringwald circa Pretty in Pink - walking in tube skirts, hard and sweaty on the thighs). Growing years certainly. Difficult years, of course. Times when I gave it my all and others when did what I could to slide by to the next semester, the next credit hour. Still in touch with some friends, fewer than one would imagine, but a commuter-working campus life didn’t leave much time for extracurriculars.

Besides quitting smoking, it’s the best thing I ever did for myself.

There’s a moment in the grad experience when one wonders, “Will I walk?” Graduation ceremonies are pompous and overblown at best, long-winded and stuffy hot at worse. But there’s something about the tradition that beckons. I walked in both the full class ceremony and smaller event at the School of Journalism. That was the better of the two; there your name was called special, to thunderous family whoops and you walked across the stage to shake hands and accept your diploma…cover (the real thing was mailed months later after library, parking and other fees were confirmed paid in full).

Graduation I remember with a mix of accomplishment, relief and sadness. We’d lost our oldest brother and first-born son barely three months earlier and my (at that time) close knit family was suffering deep wounds and surface hornet stings. Dad flew to Colorado for the ceremony, he paid to bring my niece and her Mom from NE. Mom and two remaining brothers, nieces and a nephew, friends all here to watch, to partake. To have cake. I caught each adult warily glancing over shoulders those few days, looking for the darkness to catch us again when we slipped into celebration, wondering if it was okay. Think we needed forward movement, to feel it and have it somehow represented by something.

My Dad, riot master that he was, had been traveling a good deal that year, mostly close to the PA homestead and a few states over. He loved racing in NC, fishing trips. He’d traveled so much that spring he’d printed up “tour” T-shirts.

Joey Kash ’90. TAC.

TAC, The Adventure Continues. He brought a dozen or so of the navy tees with him to the party. In pictures I’m surrounded by them, cult-like. It’s an awesome memory.

A gift that day was a pastel-toned shadowbox containing a religious prayer. The poem is “Footprints” and bestill my black, uninitiated, pagan heart, it still hangs in my bedroom, a reminder of a day when time walked ahead even though we stayed stuck a while longer. My now oldest brother gave it to me.

I miss him too.

2 comments:

Don said...

What a cute picture. What a beautiful smile you have!

Jodie Kash said...

I'll take a lovely smile and a too-boisterous laugh over any other kind of beauty, any time. Definitely champagne-fueled that day.

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