I flew home to get changed and we headed out to get the equipment. We get to the school and set up. They had a bouncy house, a jousting ring and obstacle course for the kids. The students ate outside, ran around like mad, danced to our music and requested a bunch of songs that we could never play at a school function.
At this event, I was told of an open house that afternoon at the homeless shelter I have been working with for the last year. After breaking down, I had time to go home, get showered from sweating outside all afternoon and go pick up my daughter before heading back to pick up Adam and go to the shelter.
After shaking a few hands and eating a few brats, we took Adam home to get to the school for the six o' clock graduation. On the drive over, I was explaining to Kirsten how the day had not gone as I had planned and I was looking forward to this graduation being over and getting back home. I was worn out.
The great thing about this graduation was that it was at a small private school. Very small. The high school graduating class consisted of two boys. Between handing out the diplomas, a commencement speech and a little Pomp & Circumstance, we should be back home by 6:30. My unexpected long day was moments away from being over.
When we got there, I noticed that there were an awful lot of people there to watch two kids graduate. I soon learned that there were four graduates, not two. Another kid who had completed the off-campus studies program and would be crossing the stage with these kids he had never met and a 75 year old man who had never graduated high school and started taking classes to get his long awaited diploma. That was actually pretty cool. However, it still seemed like a lot of people for only four graduates.
We took a seat next to a couple that we knew but hadn't really seen in a few years. They had a daughter who was about to turn three and I had never met. She was immediately taken with Kirsten and wanted to sit by us and talk.
|Two minutes after meeting me,|
she is telling me her life story.
She talked and squirmed and crawled under the seats and tried to lick her finger to stick it in Kirsten's ear. Her dad said that at home she has her own version of the Wet Willy. It's called the Butt Willy. I'll leave you to figure out how that works for yourself.
Once the ceremony started, her dad made her sit in his lap. He said it was because he didn't want her to be a nuisance, but I couldn't help but notice it was right after I asked her if she would get in my car if I gave her some candy. For the next few minutes she kept asking me when we could go get the candy.
The principal stepped up to the mike to welcome everyone, said a quick prayer and stated that he would announce the graduates. I checked my clock: 6:07. We would be out of there in no time. After announcing the first name, a 4 foot person approaches the stage.
THIS WAS A KINDERGARTEN STUDENT!!!
Apparently, due to the size of the school, they do all the graduations at once. This would take a little longer than I thought. They gave the precious child her diploma and then had several children come to the stage to sing a song. A very loooong and slow song. When it was over, they moved to the 8th grade graduates. There were three in this class. They walked the stage fairly quickly and then brought up the singer to commemorate their achievement.
Here is one of the things about small schools...or any small organization. There is not a large talent pool to pull from. I know that not everyone is good at everything, but when you have 1,200 people to choose from, at least a few will be exceptional at any given talent. When you only have abut 20 people to choose from, you may end up with this:
I understand that she should be commended for having the courage to get up in front of everyone and sing, but courage will only impress people to a degree. Since this song was rather long and I was slowly coming to the realization that I was not getting out of here any time soon, I needed something to entertain myself.
Looking for something to do, I noticed the little girl from earlier staring at me. Every move I made caused her eyes to follow me. So, I turned off the flash to my camera and decided to have some fun.
I sucked in my lips and she did the same.
I pushed my nose up like a pig and she pushed hers up as well.
We had great fun for several minutes until something she did caused me to laugh.
I was able to escape her father's detection and played dumb.
After their speeches, we were treated to a slide show set to music that chronicled every picture that had ever been taken of each of these boys.
Being a Christian school, it was followed up with a sermon and then finally concluded. This ceremony for one kindergartner, three 8th graders and four seniors (total of 8 people) had taken one hour and 37 minutes. I promptly told Kirsten to say her goodbyes and head to the car.
The principal jumped on stage for a last announcement.
"The families of the graduating seniors have prepared a meal and you are all invited to stay and eat."
Well, that changed everything. The main reason I wanted out of there so fast was to get some food. We fought the crowd to get to the tables in the back. Once sitting, the allure of food and good conversation distracted me. When I rose to leave, over two more hours had passed.
I never did make it to the gym.