We got Abilene Rob graduated, on time and in good standing, and he'd better not fail the last final he has on Wednesday. If he had comments enabled on his blog, I'd suggest you go over there and offer your congratulations, but he doesn't. So just head over there and hang out for a bit, or something. Have a drink. Dust some bookshelves.
I drove the Endless Hours (tm) to Abilene in a dress, expecting a day of sightseeing with him and his family, whom I had not met. It's important to make a good first impression, especially when you have the sneaking suspicion that every tale involving yours truly has hinged on roasted gopher and long runs from the Law. Rob's a good friend, but he's entirely too honest with his mother, so I was expecting the worst: the patented Mom Side-Eye as she tucked her wallet behind her and attempted to steer the conversation away from prison conditions and the regulation of tattoo parlors.
Instead of Side-Eye, I was met with Windex.
When I knocked on the door, a dark, intense, pretty woman immediately hugged me and introduced herself as Rob's Aunt. She then shoved a bottle of all-purpose cleaner into my paw and instructed me to get started dusting down his bookshelves. Those of you who have lived through nursing school know that some things, like basic home maintenance and personal hygiene, tend to slide. Those of you who've travelled through or lived in West Texas know that dust is a part of life. The two together had prompted all of the relatives who'd gathered for Rob's graduation to do a home makeover of the Extreme type on a tight budget and short notice. So I changed out of the dress and did my part for Dust Abatement.
Rob's mother is relaxed and friendly. His older aunt is, as I said before, dark and intense (but friendly). His younger aunt is blonde and bubbly. His uncle parallels my uncle in spooky ways, down to the name and profession and fondness for toys. They are all, as you'd expect from the family that spawned him, brilliant and funny and talented. It was a little like hanging out with my own family, but without the alkaline snarkiness and puns.
And he graduated! For real! And he has a job all lined up!
I cannot remember being more proud of a friend of mine. I had no doubt that he could do it, and do it well. And he did.
And the commencement ceremony was a hoot. West Texans have fewer inhibitions about whoopin' and hollerin', and graduation is the perfect time to show off that between-the-teeth whistle you've been perfecting for years, out with the cattle. At first it was a little jarring (well, a lot jarring), given that I come from a family of Uptight Academics Who Wear Their Caps And Stoles Correctly. Then it got to be fun. Plus, the college has one very talented singer-slash-organist, who should sing the National Anthem at every baseball game forever, in perpetuity.
Then dinner and drinks, then bed, then up early the next day for a session on the porch with coffee, then a party, then more drinks and dinner again and bedtime.
I am so proud of him. He's a brilliant, talented, funny, kind person with a good heart and an excellent brain. This feels a little like I've shepherded somebody through something, even though I didn't do anything but link to his blog and occasionally bug him with emails during finals weeks. He is going to be...wait, no: He is already the kind of nurse I would love to work with, and whose name on the schedule would prompt a sigh of relief.
Rob, dude, you are awesome. Business will continue, I am sure, to be good.