Today, I attended the graduation party of my cousin Leah’s daughter Kelsi. Kelsi is a very bright young woman who graduated in the top 1% of her class (at a very competitive high school). She had full ride offers to attend several colleges and universities, but has chosen University of Chicago (who also gave her a good package). She plans to major in English with a Japanese minor.
The gathering was very vibrant. The Roberts clan is not known for its vivaciousness. About the most excited we get is when a groundhog shows up at a family reunion and everybody pulls out their shotgun. Groundhog makes good stew, you know.
But my cousin Leah married an Italian man, Bob, who is a wonderful father and husband – a hard worker and real family man. He and his family are much more outgoing, downright demonstrative. This was especially true during the wonderfully fun yet particularly cut-throat scavenger hunt competition we had.
We were asked to bring various items of paraphernalia related to Kelsi and her school. Living so far away, and not knowing Kelsi very well, we were at something of a disadvantage, but my sister April and brother-in-law Dan, working with their very creative granddaughter Emma did a great job on the list. For example –
For a picture of Kelsi in “Daisies”, they copied and pasted her graduation photo onto the body of a young girl in Daisies.
For a t-shirt from Kelsi’s Jr. High (Homer), they painted a picture of Homer Simpson on a t-shirt and wrote “Jr.” beneath it.
My favorite item, though, was in response to the list request to “wear an item of clothing from your alma mater.” My dad, who is always saying, “I’m nothing but a dumb old Kentuckian with a sixth grade education,” wore a t-shirt that said, “Jabez Elementary – Sixth Grade Grad.” (Someone told Dad he should wear that to the reunion in Jabez, but Dad declined, saying, “They’d just think I was putting on airs.”)
The competition was fierce as we wound down to the final question – to compose a song about your school choice and sing it to the tune of “The Brady Bunch”. My sister asked me to write one about Hanover, but I decided nobody would have a clue where Hanover was and this was Kelsi’s day, anyway. So, my brother-in-law Dan (who also went to the University of Chicago) and I (though mostly Dan) wrote the following song –
The Ballad of Kelsi Rarick
Here’s the story of a girl named Kelsi
Who excelled in class and everything she did.
Many schools would be proud for her to join them
But which one would she pick?
It’s the story of a school in Chicago
Which was famous for its geniuses galore.
They had Nobels enough to choke an army
But they still wanted more.
Then the one day when this lady met this college
And they knew that it was simply meant to be
That this girl would be their next star student
Yes, Kelsi Rarick would attend the U of C.
We were having so much fun, we stayed until long past my bedtime – almost 9:30. But hey, it’s not every day someone so special graduates from high school. It’s worth the effort.
“University of Chicago logo – Bing Images” from John