We stayed in the Sheraton by the convention center, a huge hotel (770 rooms) that ranks as one of the nicest hotels I've stayed in (although it's trumped by the historic Palmer House in Chicago and the Bonaventure in Los Angeles). Maybe I'm just saying that because the bar on the 2nd floor let me wander back up to my room on the 16th floor carrying my pint of beer.
On Saturday morning, there was a graduation ceremony for Lawson State Community College at the convention center across the street. We watched from above as the graduates, many of them well into adulthood, some alone, some accompanied by family, entered the convention center.
Not too many months ago I finished up with the classes I had been taking. It was a lot of effort just to make it through one 3-credit hour class per semester, and near insanity to take two, while working full-time. And I don't even have any children to vie for my time and attention. I can barely conceive of completing a 2-or-4-year degree while working and taking care of a family. The graduates that morning had much to be proud of: their accomplishments arguably outshine those of the 22-year-olds who, like myself 13 years ago, pursued the path of least resistance to its logical conclusion.
On the way down the elevator, we stopped at the 10th floor and a young man hesitantly stepped in. His hair was just shy of shoulder length, in small braids. He was wearing baggy black jeans, a Kelly green polo shirt with horizontal stripes, and a matching Kelly green baseball cap with a pristine brim so flat he probably starched and ironed it minutes before. In short, he was trying very hard to look cool.
He was also carrying two purses and a basket of flowers.
We politely ignored his sheepish glance on the ride down. I do not know if it was his mother, his sister, or his aunt that was graduating, or whose purses he carried, but there he was, at 9:30 A.M., swallowing his pride, to show his family how proud he was of them.
It was a touching sight I will not soon forget.