In the past eight days I have attended two college commencements (one as a parent, one as a faculty member), one learning community meeting, one marshals' meeting, and two half-day assessment workshops, and I have listened to more speeches and cliches than I would care to count. I have grazed at one celebratory brunch, three celebratory lunches, two celebratory dinners, and multiple snack bars, consuming tossed salad, chicken salad, shrimp salad, ham sandwiches, hummus, tomato soup, three kinds of chocolate cake, and, for the sake of variety, a tiny lovely lemon tart.
I have worn the same skirt to three events, though not with the same blouse. I have worn heels and hose in sunshine and rain, jumped puddles and edged around mud in my favorite sandals, and juggled a purse, umbrella, and a suit bag full of academic regalia while trying to open my car door into traffic.
I have applauded colleagues winning service awards, hugged another who is retiring, and given a standing ovation to our retiring college president not once or twice but three separate times. I have cheered for students wearing so many honor cords they could weave a rug and others who just barely squeaked by. I have seen students march and sashay and dance across the stage in wing-tips, flip-flops, and spectacular stilt-like shoes, and I've seen a few well-lubricated students miraculously maneuver the steps without falling on their faces.
In short, I have survived the annual marathon of celebration and marveled at the way so many details come together without a hitch. (Well, mostly. Note to catering: if you load up 1000 people with finger
foods on paper plates and then hide the trash cans where no one can find them, you're going to find soiled plates and crumpled napkins in all kinds of inappropriate places.)
The head faculty marshal and I were leading the academic procession out of the auditorium after commencement and we were about halfway up the aisle when she turned to me and said, "Do you think anyone is following us?"
Of course they were. They had to: we were leading them toward the next round of chocolate cake.
Hurray for everyone! Now let's all start our celebratory diet!