HAD WE THE MEANS, I would hire a brass band to play a grand-style Sousa rouse in approximately four hours and forty-five minutes.
That’s when Ann, my companion and partner for going-on-twenty-two years returns from her last final exam as an undergraduate.
It’s been about four years since she began this enterprise through Sonoma State University‘s bachelor-of-liberal-arts-for-working-adults program, which enterprise actually began 40 years ago in the foothills of Oakland back in California’s glorious days of free (yes, FREE) community college, or rebegan in the mid-1990s when we both started attending the justly top-rated Santa Rosa Junior College simply because we lived two blocks away, and where I learned the news business and Ann became valedictorian and Associate of Arts with highest honors and — maybe, someday, in a dream — poised for the bachelors’ race. But four years ago it ceased to be a dream, and every day since has been a struggle toward today. Or rather next Saturday, G?d willing, when Ann dons cap and gown to walk across a stage for her diploma: a “piece of paper” made out of ink, sweat, tears and highlighter stains.
I like the symbolism of mounting and crossing the stage; when people work as hard as Ann has — and I’ve never seen anyone work harder, not ever, for anything — they should be soundly and roundly applauded. Hard work is counterintuitive for a species as easily bored as Homo sapiens, and when someone lifts herself up she elevates everyone around her.
So, no brass bands. The music would just float away — much like these words. But before they do: Congratulations, honey mine. You made it.