I've been to two graduations in the last week. The first was Jacob's pre-school graduation, crowded with proud parents and grandparents. The kids were adorable of course, sang a couple of songs in which they sounded like the children's choir at church. But they marched in to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance." I don't think it made much impression on five-year-olds and they soon went to devour cake.
This morning I went with former neighbor Sue to see her son Hunter graduate from 5th grade at Lilly B. Clayton, the school across the street from my house and the one Jacob will attend starting next Tuesday. This was a much more rehearsed affair--Hunter said they practiced over and over and over and over. But, yes, they marched in to "Pomp and Circumstance." One blessing: when they sang "Clayton, my Clayton" it was to the tune of "Texas, My Texas." The musical selections were lively and well done, the awards endless--almost every child earned either the honor roll, attendance record or good citizenship. My heart ached for those who had no such accolades after their names were called. I guess we make our own beds, even in elementary school. Sue cried, as this is her last child to graduate from this school that has been such a loving, warm home for them, and I failed at my mission--didn't bring Kleenex. But I was glad to be there for support.
The thing about "Pomp and Circumstance" is that Kenwood Elementary School in Chicago ruined it for me. they put words to it, and to this day when I hear those familiar strains, my mind goes, "Goodbye to you, Kenwood/We will remember your name/For you've led us onward/To the halls of fame." If there's more, I can't remember it, but that's enough--migosh, it's been, what? sixty-some years? My mom had the same problem, only it always made her laugh. Even when I got a Ph.D.
This afternoon, I guess I was worn out by graduation and errands but my dog and cat and I slept for over two hours, so soundly that I awoke comletely disoriented--5:30? Morning? Evening? What day? I had no idea. Even wondered if I was still in Scotland but pretty quickly ruled that out. When I figured out the whole thing, I lay in delicious comfort until six, enjoying drowsiness and the quiet closeness of the animals--felt like a family.
When my children were at home, I used to buy cube steaks--those inexpensive cuts that have been tenderized. Haven't done that in years, but I saw a small one in the market today. Brought it home and cooked it the way I always had--cut in strips, flour, salt and pepper liberally, give it a fairly quick saute, and squeeze lemon juice over it before serving. While that was going on I roasted some cauliflower (which may be my new favorite vegetable after years of ignoring it) with olive oil, salt and papper. Delicious to slop the cauliflower in the leftover lemon/beef juice. I buy just a handful of cauliflower flowerets for me, but I may start buying broccoflower to get the green benefit. Only thing I missed tonight was the green vegetable.
I may have told this story before, but I inherited from my mom a firm conviction that you should have something green, preferably dark green, at every meal. I don't always do it, but it's there. One time, a man I was dating ordered chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes with gravy for lunch. I looked at his plate in horror and said, "You don't have anything green!" He rolled his eyes and said, "Once a mother, always a mother." You know, I miss that man yet.