December 22, 2009

Graduation Day


Leave it to the wisdom of a six year old to ground a person that is in need of frequent re-grounding. Last Saturday afternoon we had just returned home after lunch with friends and I assumed my normal position on the family room couch for a much deserved nap. The dog was barking at the back door, six feet from my position of repose, and I called for my littlest Angel, who was in the west wing of Casa de Salmon, to come to my assistance. She huffed to the back door, let the dogs in, and as she stormed past declared, “It may be your special day Dad, but it’s not all about you!” Did I mention that she is only six?

Several years ago I had reached a crossroads in my life. My wife and I had married in February 2002 and soon thereafter we left Alaska when I accepted a short lived job with USA Today in Michigan. Eight months later and severely pregnant we were loading up a truck and moving a second time to Minnesota. Once again I found that I had landed another terrible job in the rapidly dying newspaper industry and a year later I was at a loss as to what to do next. I was torn between finding another newspaper or doing something new which would require some retooling.

I always regretted not going to college but it was not something I remember being stressed in our house as a kid. Instead I elected to enter the Army right after high school. In Uncle Sam’s infinite wisdom I was offered an opportunity to go to West Point shortly after entering basic training. What were they thinking, were they that desperate for officers? I was seventeen, had escaped the grip of high school by the skin of my teeth, and in my current position as grunt trainee was not sure that the military was a career path I was particularly enamored with. In my infinite ignorance I declined. Eventually I served my time, found a trade, dabbled in a few classes at the local community college, but by and large just got on with life until the events described above.

I’m sure that anyone that has contemplated a midlife transition has at some point found himself filled with doubts and fears, I was no different. Fortunately I had unwittingly married an Angel and she suggested that we pack up and return to Iowa where I could attend school full time while she would support us. Little did I realize what “support” would mean.

It would mean her working overtime while I studied and worked part time at near minimum wage. It would mean that she would work miracles with the checkbook so I could spend a week at Oshkosh. It would mean giving moral support, prodding, and the occasional beating to this recalcitrant non-traditional student to keep me focused on the goal that had been set. Essentially it would mean that her Angel like qualities would be tested to their limits.

We finally graduated Saturday and I say we because without the help of my two Angels this dream would not have been realized. Commencement was indeed a special day and the degree an accomplishment that I will always cherish but as my little Angel pointed out, it was certainly not all about me.

5 comments:

kingshamus said...

Scott, congratulations.

I hope you find success and good fortune in your new life.

Scott said...

Thanks King

Double J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Young Texas Gilbert said...

Wow... my Big Brother is now highly ed-ju-ma-ka-ted. Congratulations Bro, I am proud of you!

Scott said...

Thx Steve and JJ. Luv ya.