Sunday, May 24, 2009

Graduation,Large and Small

Finally back, although I'm actually cheating; I typed this up earlier to post when I could. Yes, it has come to that. It seems a bit in violation of the spirit of blogging, but sometimes you do what you must.

A sudden housing crisis has resulted in the older daughter and Grandbaby staying with us for a few days, reminding me that our house was designed for a certain occupancy and exceeding it is problematic.Of course if they were staying long-term we could organize and lessen the stresses; as it is the interior looks like it was attacked by monkeys with leaf blowers. That this happened right before graduation weekend added to the jollies.

Speaking of graduation, everything went as well as could be expected at both ceremonies (my nephew's in Viborg on the 16th and my daughter's on the 17th) and their accompanying festivities, which provided interesting comparisons. Superficially they were quite similar. Pomp and Circumstance was played by the school band; caps and gowns were worn; relatives were proud. Both ceremonies were even about the same length, a bit over an hour.

Most of the differences grew out of two primary characteristics. The first ceremony was in the school gym and graduated 19 seniors; the second was held on the football field and gave diplomas to 195 kids. The first had a main speaker, some scholarship awards and a video presentation with a short biography of each graduate; a similar video for the second would have lasted over 3 hours and probably incited vigilante action against the responsible school officials. Conversely, had the first been organized like the second it would have lasted about 20 minutes, which wouldn't have been all bad but might have left some feeling a bit shortchanged.

The Viborg gym setting was familiar to me, as was the size of the class, so it felt more traditional. I had never been to a graduation in Pierre nor to an outdoor ceremony; bringing along a lawn chair was a good idea, although there were seats set up for spectators (for the first time, according to my wife) and the football field stands were available. This gave it a less formal feeling, especially since there was no exit procession; they simply gathered up up their tossed caps and dispersed. Happily the weather was just about perfect; the backup plan as I understood it involved a number of undersized school facilities and seemed as though it would resemble a street scene from a Godzilla movie.

Sharing the reception with my daughter's best friend's family turned out to be inspired, especially since we were out of town the previous day. My wife and the other graduate's mother worked together splendidly and my wife's son, who works at the hotel where we held it, saw to the organization of the courtyard. I upheld the traditional roles of manual laborer and trying not to be an impediment. All in all, things went quite smoothly. Still, I'm glad we don't have to organize another one - at least until the first grandchild graduates in 9 years, which coincidentally is how long it has been since my divorce from my graduate's mother...*sigh*.