Graduation Day

June is the month in which we celebrate graduations.

From college, from high school, from middle school, and even from the precious Pre-K ceremony complete with paper crowns and colorful diplomas.

It’s a month of bittersweet tears as we – as parents — watch our children move-up, farther and farther away from our watchful eyes.  Our babies are growing up 😦

This week, while riding the train into Manhattan, I was reading Flannery O’Connor’s collection of stories.  It’s my first taste of Flannery O’Connor…talk about bittersweet!  Her stories are dark, humorous and thought-provoking.

One in particular – using the theme of a graduation ceremony – had me in stitches.   Here’s the opening  of Flannery O’Connor’s A Late Encounter with the Enemy: 

*    *    *


General Sash was a hundred and four years old.  He lived with his granddaughter, Sally Poker Sash, who was sixty-two years old and who prayed every night on her knees that he would live until her graduation from college.  The General didn’t give two slaps for her graduation but he never doubted he would live for it.  Living had got to be such a habit with him that he couldn’t conceive of any other condition.  A graduation exercise was not exactly his idea of a good time, even if, as she said, he would be expected to sit on the stage in his uniform.  She said there would be a long procession of teachers and students in their robes but that there wouldn’t be anything to equal him in his uniform.  He knew this well enough without her telling him, and as for the damm procession, it could march to hell and back and not cause him a quiver.  He liked parades with floats full of Miss Americas and Miss Daytona Beaches and Miss Queen Cotton Products….

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