Saturday, June 12, 2010

Graduation Part I

Hello, World. It’s me again. If you’re listening, great. If not, I’m just another crazy person talking to himself.

A few things have happened since last I spoke. On Friday, May 28th, Brian and I drove down to Orem to attend his sister Amy’s graduation from Mountain View High School. The graduation didn’t start until 4, and we made the mistake of arriving a couple of hours early. We were soon put to work collecting chairs and tables from various neighbors in the cul-de-sac. The family was throwing a barbecue after the ceremony, and preparations needed to be made.

Eventually Brian and I hopped into the car with his mother and his littlest sister Courtney. Their father had left earlier, taking Amy with him, and their oldest sister Jenny was to meet us there after she got off of work. (Just a random side note, but this is precisely the reason I found a Friday graduation to be absurd. Don’t people have jobs on week days? When I expressed this to Brian’s mother, she thought it was crazy that my brother’s graduation was scheduled on a Saturday. She almost fainted when she heard I had graduated on a Sunday. “Well, that would never fly in Utah,” she said.)

Of course we left the house a little later than we should have and we struggled to find parking outside of the BYU Marriott Center. Brian’s mother burned her foot recently when she dropped a pot of boiling water on it in the kitchen a few weeks back, and it has yet to heal properly. In fact, it seems to be getting worse. Just one more medical problem to add to her teetering list. So on top of the endless circles around the parking lot, we also found ourselves leading a limping and complaining woman slowly into the building.

We made it just in time, however, (Jenny was the late one) and the ceremony began. Now, if you are LDS or have ever been LDS you might know what I mean when I say that the ceremony seemed a lot like General Conference. If not, picture this: the camera is always dead center on the podium, where a speaker is looking straight at you while droning on in a mechanical sort of way. Talks (well, “speeches” or “sermons” to the rest of the world) by Church General Authorities usually follow the same formula. They begin with a story of some sort that eventually becomes a metaphor on which the entire speech is based.

This graduation ceremony positively reeked of LDS influence. It oozed Mormonism out of every pore. Every speech made that day was delivered as if it were in a church setting. I’m surprised they managed to bite their tongues and not end with, “In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” To add to the religious atmosphere, their school’s choir sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and sounded just like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Of course it was long and dull, overall. All graduation ceremonies are. As much as everyone tries to be meaningful and heartfelt and memorable, they all end up talking for too long and sounding like a clichéd graduation card. Then of course, there’s the reading of the names, which takes forever. Thank the Lord Almighty that I went to a tiny little hick school, because it does not take that long to read 36 names aloud. However, with almost 500 kids, you literally feel your life wasting away before you as you sit in a sort of limbo where time stands still…

After the graduation was over, we took obligatory pictures and then sped back to the house to get the food ready for the party. It was actually a pretty big shindig. Lots of relatives were there, and the coolest thing about it was that I’m starting to know these people and they are starting to become more comfortable with me. The first few get-togethers with Brian’s extended family were awkward to say the least. However, this time I enjoyed talking with quite a few of them, and I felt like part of the family (although, several of them said I could never be one of them since I don’t like sauerkraut).

Thankfully, no sauerkraut was served at this barbecue. But Brian’s Aunt Deb does prepare a mean pasta salad!

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