Well, the parties and holidays are over, and we are still here. Survived to see another year, a hell of a year at that, fade into obscurity and a new year come in fresh and new. Kids are back in school, and we can begin to get back into our daily routine instead of wondering what day it was and what bowl game comes on next.
Will headed back to Sewanee yesterday and back into the college routine and lifestyle that defines kids away from their parents. I told him before he left, "Do your best and be your best, but also have fun. This is the best time of your life! Make the best of it." Like most 19-year-olds, I'm not sure if it went in one ear and out the other, but truer words have never spoken.
I can remember returning to college after a summer or long holiday and saying a reluctant goodbye to my lifelong hometown friends as we all had such a good time together when we weren't in school. But then there's the memory of walking into the house at school and seeing a whole different group of friends welcoming me back with a tapestry of sarcasm and insults only real friends can deliver in such eloquence. It was great to hear the stories of who got in trouble, who didn't make it back, hunting stories, and the girls that broke their hearts. We would stay up late with a case of cheap beer trading jabs and mocking each other's insecurities as if it was a sport and discussed where we all were going to move to when our parents got our grades. Nothing was sacred. We would laugh for hours until our gut and cheek muscles couldn't take anymore...or maybe that was the Milwaukee's Best talking, aka. "the Beast". Ha! We were professionals back in that day and age.
When Will called us to say he had arrived back on top of The Mountain, he sounded like a happy boy back where he belongs. He has a good group of friends up there, and I feel they did the same as we did over 30 years ago, laughing and catching up on their time away from school. This coming weekend is Margaret's birthday, where she and three of her closest friends from Sewanee are meeting up there to celebrate and be together. Those girls mean the world to her, and me, it is my hope and prayer that Will finds the same bonds of friendship that both she and I had during our college careers. He will probably see her for only a few minutes over the entire weekend because I'm sure he will be, "busy" but when she asks him how it's going, the best any only reply I need is it's "All Good".
Then she will smile and hug him and her parting words as always will be: "Be Smart. Be Safe. Behave. And Don't Be Stupid." Oh, college .....