May See Them Again
September 18, 1985, David Letterman shared his first Top Ten List on NBC’s “Late Night” entitled “Top Ten Words that Almost Rhyme with Peas.” The skit became a staple for his show and over the years evolved into a sketch that featured celebrities reading a list of jabs and jokes about current events. We didn’t get to tour NBC studios, but we did hit the gift store at Rockefeller Center. On this last day of Hg’s senior trip, with a 10-hour drive ahead of us, I thought I’d do my own “Top Ten Things that I learned from Senior Trip.”
Before I do, today’s docket included a tour of Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia, then lunch at Michie Tavern. Martha Jefferson, the wife of Thomas Jefferson, died a young mother and with that moment of separation imminent, she put pen to paper and copied the following portion of “Tristram Shandy” by Laurence Sterne:
“Time wastes too fast; every letter I trace tells me with what rapidity life follows my pen. The days and hours of it are flying over our heads like clouds of windy day never to return — more. Everything presses on —.”
Hg stood in the doorway of the bathroom of the hotel room this morning suddenly struck by the “rapidity” of the passing of her senior year as this trip comes to an end. She had anticipated this trip for years as she listened to the stories told by seniors that went before her. Such a milestone in a year that itself is a milestone, and it was now over, much like the final year of her childhood will soon fade into young adulthood and be over.
For all practical purposes, I missed a big chunk of Hg’s school years, between fifth and 10th, just sort of blowing into and out of town with Eli during his treatments. I depended upon other moms to get her where she needed to be so that her days were as normal as possible, protecting those precious years from cancer’s thievery. Some of those moms are on the parent bus with me, including Stacey Glover, Casie Barksdale, Linda Silvernail, Carole Bradford. It’s thanks to them and others, not me, that she made birthday parties or team practices or sometimes even school. She is sad for the trip to end because her school experience was positive, and it did take a village.
Some of these kids have been a part of Hg’s life almost from it’s beginning. Recently, I found a journal that I kept of Hg’s first two years of her life, and on January 21, 2002, the entry includes her first playdates. One with a neighbor boy who went to church with us, then it says “Case, 10 months, and Sophie, one year, came over for the first (time). May see them again. They go to church with us as well.”
Laughter and conversation have filled the parent bus throughout the week, but with a sense of awareness that it’s the kids that bind us. For some of these parents it’s their last Senior Trip, and for others like me it’s our first as a parent with a couple more trips to go. Though I did dread the trip because of the time it took me from home, I am glad that I was able to come, able to spend some time focused on Hg, able to see some of these other kids that I don’t ordinarily get to be around, and able to spend some time with the other parents who are also my friends. It's going to be exciting and interesting to keep up with these kids as they move on.
Wonderful job by the organizers, a professional tour company could not have done better. (continue below....)
So, my Top Ten Things that I Learned on Senior Trip starts with number 10: A 46-foot 2018 MCI J4500 coach can thread the eye of a New York needle as long as Carole Bradford provides sound affects.
Number 9 of the things I learned on Senior Trip is to listen to Heather Graviett and borrow her stuff.
Number 8 of the things I learned on Senior Trip is that Al Capone lived a more luxurious life in prison that I did in A-Dorm at Florida College.
The Number 7 thing I learned on Senior Trip is that it’s Jackie who is laughing so loudly, not Gina Martinez.
The Number 6 thing I learned on Senior Trip is that if Tammie Woodard wears a hat, we can get anything we want.
Number 5 on my list of things I learned on Senior Trip is that Norm Webb needs to grow out his side burns and book Vegas.
Number 4 on my list of things I learned on Senior Trip is that being a Sister Wife with Casie Barksdale, Bjo Webb, and Stacey Glover is the best way to survive New York City.
Number 3 of the things I learned on Senior Trip is that Stacey Glover goes full-out preschool teacher mode when tasked with responsibility for kids of any age.
The Number 2 thing that I learned on Senior Trip is that the salad bar is the safest food at a buffet.
The Number 1 thing that I learned on Senior Trip is that I will forever regret taking photos of my kid and of national monuments while missing a picture of Norm, Cliff and Sam(uel) at Cheers.