A GRADUATION UNLIKE ANY OTHER

I have been away for the entire Memorial Day weekend; plus we made a trip to Itasca to deliver our RV to our youngest son and his family so they can use it during their weeklong stay in a beautiful state park.  Just driving into Itasca is a refreshing event even when one is worn out from a lot of miles already driven on the weekend plus a lot of activity at a granddaughter’s graduation celebration.   The shades of green the eyes take in at Itasca is so breathtaking!  Pale lime green leaves on the paper birches….the deep forest green of the stately white pines….baby oak leaves in another shade of pale green…and soft new pale green needles on the Old Giants…the red pines.  Preacher’s Grove always makes me feel like things are all right..there stand the old red pines like a gathering of evangelical preachers telling us the good news that  the creation is perfect in its conception and in its continuing testimony to a perfectly designed Minnesota "Garden of Eden".

Our first granddaughter’s (and the eldest of all the grandkids) graduation from Century High School in Bismarck was "amazing" and that is using a word to describe a most unusual occurrence at the graduation ceremony.  Thousands of us were seated in the Civic Center; the band  and orchestra had played a very professional – sounding prelude of several pieces of music;  the graduates entered to the stately strains of "Pomp and Circumstance";  the senior high choir sang a most harmonic rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" and we all sat down for the greeting from the class president.  But before the girl could rise to speak there was a small commotion and a conference between school administratiors also seated on the stage and another man wearing a dark suit like the school officials.  It turned out that the "other man" was the police liasson officer with Century High and the "conference" was because someone had phoned in a report of a man who had said to several eyewitnesses in the Kirkwood Mall that he was going to "blow everyone up over in the Civic Center."  One of the eyewitnesses immediately called police and the result was that before 5:30 p.m. all of us in the Center were making an orderly evacuation of the huge building so that a police bomb squad, complete with the specially trained search dogs, could "sweep the building."

What a horrible "sign of the times" in Bismarck ND!!!  Residents of our upper midwestern area do NOT expect such happenings in our domains… but we have already seen several false alarms in schools, in other public buildings and open air arenas in our regional vicinity.  Not that many years ago, when I was still teaching school, I was met at the door about 7:15 in the morning with the news that our little small town elementary school was going to be searched because of a bomb threat!   I thought of that incident on Sunday when I was at first so incredulous over the threat situation at the Civic Center.

By 6:00 the police had swept the Civic Center and of course there was no bomb.  We all trooped back inside and took our places once again.  It appeared that no one was absent…the seats were just as full as they were before our surprising evacuation.  Most of us walked to the parking lots and stood around talking or walked to the nearby Kirwwood Mall and patronized Starbucks or just sat down in the mall halls after the evacuation.  The red-robed graduates (all 350+ of them) took it in their stride, and went on to the most important event in their young lives….receiving their high school diplomas. As most graduates now do, these "kids" began to pass beachballs through their seated ranks before the ceremony was over til their ever-watchful Principal went into the rows of graduates and confiscated the beach balls…temporarily.  He threw them back after the last graduate was handed their diplomas and the Principal tossed the beach balls back to the grads where they went soaring again along with the red mortar boards.  I saw some silly string guns being employed also, as a few of the grads walked back to their seats.  What a huge difference now from the totally solemn and dignified graduation cermemony that my class participated in.  We would have never dreamed up anything like tossing beach balls….we would have embarrassed ourselves and our parents….the motivating behavior factor of my generation…do NOTHING, EVER, that would embarrass your parents.  That behavior motivation  seems to have gone by the wayside for more than one generation of teens already.

Other than the bomb scare on Sunday, we had a wonderful time celebrating our granddaughter’s graduation…..and with all the breathtaking and unexpected events surroundng the graduation ceremony, I did not need my crying towel!!!!

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