Whitley and I recently flew up to our old home town of New York City to attend our son's college graduation ceremonies.
Wherever we travel, we can usually find someone in the UFO community to hook up with. In New York, a friend of ours who runs one of the original Communion groups has a friend who's the manager at a nice midtown hotel, so we can usually get a pretty nice room there. This time we got a bedroom with a sitting room attached, which meant we got to see a lot more of our son. Since he's a Knicks fan and doesn't have cable T.V., he came to our hotel to watch the game almost every night. We got some sodas and take-out Chinese food and watched along with him.
We have an friend with UFO experiences who works for a major dance company, and she was able to get us tickets to a marvelous ballet. Andrew had to watch the game by himself that night.
We also visited our son's apartment. He has two roommates in a three bedroom apartment. If this sounds large to you, it's because you don't live in New York. They each contribute rent according to the size of their bedrooms. Andrew's friend Frank has the smallest room-- if you put a drain in the middle of the floor, it would be about the size of a shower stall.
Andrew kept trying to tell Frank how small the room was before he moved in, but he didn't fully comprehend what he was being told, and brought an entire U-Haul full of furniture up to New York from Florida. We phoned Andrew shortly after Frank moved in and asked him what he was doing. "We're sawing Frank's desk in half," was the reply.
There were two graduation ceremonies. The first one was the ceremony for the film and television department of the university, and it was great. Instead of the usual boring speeches, we listened to the actor Alec Baldwin and watched a comedy routine.
The second ceremony was for the entire school, and wasn't nearly as much fun. Folding chairs were set up in a city park and thousands of bedraggled parents got there at 7:30 in the morning to form a line around the block. By the time we arrived, the only chairs available were on the outskirts of the park, where we couldn't even see the giant T.V. screens that had been set up to catch the action. We found two chairs and when we sat down, we realized why they were still empty: they were directly behind a giant tree.
We listened to a few droning speeches until our stomachs began to rumble. We looked at each other and knew we both had the same idea, so we sneaked off to a local coffee shop for breakfast. When we got back, the speeches were still droning away, but a few more babies were crying.
Then the President of the University spoke. In the middle of his speech, he became flummoxed and began to stutter. He mumbled something about everyone needing to express themselves, then continued on. I said to Whitley, "He must give a speech every year. You'd think he'd be better than this."
When we told Andrew about this later, he said, "You mean you didn't see it? A student stood in the middle of the fountain and threw off his graduation robe. He was stark naked underneath." We'd missed the highlight of the entire ceremony.
Being with other parents at graduation meant a lot to us. We were all tired and a great deal poorer than we'd been four years ago, but we were all proud of our kids. When asked why anyone would go to the trouble of having children, a friend of ours once replied, "There are joys you just can't get any other way." May all those joys be yours, as well.
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