It's been a week since I returned from my visit to Florida and my nephew Jonathan's high school graduation--and I'm still reliving that delightful time in my mind! So many wonderful memories an event like that brings to mind, and creates for the future! We remember our time in high school and our own Graduation Days, and realize what an exciting future lies ahead for one of us who, seemingly, just barely arrived in this world!
The Thursday evening I arrived in Jacksonville, Mom and Dad and I took a stroll along the pier in Jacksonville Beach. It was very relaxing to watch the vast ocean caressing the shore as the sun dipped low, and spy on the young couples--perhaps, just graduating themselves--walking arm in arm along the sand below.
Friday morning we attended a Mass for the graduates of Jonathan's school, Bishop Kenny High School. What a marvelous group of young people! I think it was a great blessing for Jonathan to be able to attend a school where personal and academic standards are high, but the demands are leavened with faith and the shared love of Christ. He owes so much to his parents' wisdom and sacrifices--and I'm sure he'd agree with me completely! Friday evening Mom, Dad and I met with Patti, Jason, and Jonathan for some great chicken wings at the Mudville Grille in Jacksonville.
The Big Event was on Saturday morning, with the graduation ceremony held in the arena at the University of North Florida. It was impressive and exciting, and so refreshing to see so many outstanding young people take their first step into a bright future. Even Jonathan's cousin Lena, who has just a few years to go before graduation, shared the experience with us!
Saturday evening we attended a delightful graduation party at the Sloans', with friends of Jonathan as well as many wonderful friends of Jason and Patti. I wish Melany and I lived closer so we could visit with them all more often!
On Sunday we attended early Mass with Patti and Jason at Assumption Church. Later, when Patti came by Mom and Dad's to take me back to her house, we were stopped in the road by a family of ducks trying to cross. "Dad" got to the other side, but "Mom" and "The Kids" were a little slower and decided to hang back until the traffic cleared!
At Patti's we lounged in and around the pool for most of the afternoon, reveling in each other's company. It was delightful to get into the pool and splash about--I hadn't done that in years! The conversation was full of good-natured fun and reminiscing, and dinner (Jason's famous sausages and hamburgers from the grill, plus Mom's Calico Beans and other delectables) was excellent!
On Monday Mom and Dad and I visited the Jacksonville Museum of Science and History (MOSH), where they had displayed some artifacts recovered from the sunken Civil War troop transport Maple Leaf. On our way we stopped at Patti's house to pick her up, and just what greeted our eyes when we arrived?
That's right, it was Jonathan pulling a prank on his parents, one he'd been cooking up for a long time! The new "do," though decidedly handsome, lasted only that day!
After MOSH, Patti and I made a brief visit to the nearby Jacksonville Maritime Museum, outside which Patti graciously posed for this wonderful picture with the downtown Jacksonville skyline in the background:
On Tuesday, I had a mercifully uneventful flight home. All the way back to Rochester, and ever since the trip, I've thought about how blessed I am to have the wonderful family that I do--stretching from Florida through Virginia and Pennsylvania to New York, and even out to Idaho--and what marvelous memories we've made together!
Speaking of memories, high school, graduation, and such, I thought I'd share with you a music video that captures that experience very well--the song is "Moments to Remember," recorded in 1955 (a very good year) by the Four Lads. Jonathan might not be able to relate to it so well, but I think a few of us older folks might. Thanks again for the memories!