I'm taking a minute from everyday life to announce how proud I am of middle child, Belle, for graduating high school and pretty much having her life planned out. Or at least as planned as you can get at the tender age of 18.
Last Saturday Ms. Belle walked across the gymnasium at Salida High School along with 57 other of her newest closest friends. She was handed a lovely diploma holder and picked up the real thing in the school office after the ceremony.
And what a fun ceremony it was!
I have only been to the ginormous Texas high school graduations where there are 600 kids and it is held in a stadium and people come and go. The only advantage to those graduations is that our last name starts with a B and graduates are announced alphabetically.
This little ceremony started with the Pledge, a song from the choir, the band playing and a procession of the graduates coming in two by two.
Surprise! Not alphabetical. Belle was one of the last to come in.
No hired speaker- the students spoke and also chaired the program.
Proof! She really graduated.
There was a slide show that had the kids' baby pictures first, followed by their senior picture. The students got to choose a snippet of song to be played while their pics were on display. It was fun trying to guess which kids were which either from their song or baby picture. Belle's song was "She's Like Texas" by Josh Abbott Band. Perfect.
After the diplomas were handed out, there were a few more words said by the muckety mucks and then there was the recession. (Not the economic kind but the departing procession kind.)
Accustomed to the staid deportment of 600 graduates quietly filing out after a brief flurry of cap tossing, I was totally caught off guard by the party that left the gym.
Two by two they left.
The first couple of pairs were waving and smiling. Then two boys walked down the aisle wearing rooster hoods. A few students later, one had removed his robe to reveal his fire fighting outfit. (Forest fire fighting is a BIG thing here and many boys go into the field.) Another was in his dirt bike racing uniform; he's going pro next year. (You go, Garrett!) There was a horse head hood. Lots of the kids had party cannons that boomed and sprayed confetti. Boys carried out girls. Boys carried out boys. Belle and her friend met center stage, theatrically air kissed and beauty pageant walked and waved down the aisle.
Belle and Madison in a flurry of confetti.
Anything could be and was worn under the robes. Many of the boys obviously had on shorts.
In a perverse twist, Bunny's friend boy who graduated actually had on a tie- a rare and coerced occurrence. I attribute that to his mom being from a more Southern state. She's trying hard with that one to make him civilized. He would prefer to be a country boy, thank you very much.
And one student even had on a tux. This is the kid who every single day of school has worn a coat and tie. Always. By choice. It's his thing.
I love a school where everyone is allowed to let their freak flag fly.
And Ms. Belle?
After a brief chat, she headed to Sonic for lunch and then home to change. She wanted to work one last night before heading home to Texas, where she will work some more.
That girl is driven. She likes money and she knows she needs to work to make it.
In April she took a job here waitressing and worked five days a week. Coincidentally, the restaurant is only open five days a week. (A little shout out to Buffalo Smokehouse- good BBQ if you are in the area. The owner is originally from Texas. He knows what he is doing. And there is a wonderful museum collection of motorcycles and Western memorabilia.)
And now Belle is back in Texas for three weeks getting summer job(s) lined up. Last year she worked for Grimaldi's Pizza and hopes to pick that job up again while graduating from hostessing to waitressing in the process. She also has an in with another restaurant for a hostessing job. Her plan was to get back to Texas before all of the other kids got out of school so she could get a jump on the summer job situation. Smart.
Even smarter, one of those restaurants has a location in Florida, near to the school she plans to attend. Guess who also plans to work in Florida?
She will do well in life.
Belle with her proud momma.
She's really only a half inch taller than me.
I had on heels. She had on HEELS.
I am so proud.