Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Life's Highs and Lows

Yesterday was "Culmination Day" for my niece Elle and my nephew Sport. So...what's culmination? Apparently the kids' school district wants to refrain from using the word "graduation" for anything other than high school so they came up with this term to cover elementary and middle school ceremonies. The problem, of course, is that Hallmark has yet to catch up with this new terminology so finding the appropriate greeting card was impossible.

Sport's elementary school outdoor culmination was 8:30AM. Believe me...I'm not complaining about the early time. The sun was already burning brightly and the temperature was rising quickly. We did manage to snag seats under one of the provided canopies and the ceremony went off without a hitch. As ceremonies go, this one was actually quite entertaining and the speeches were kept short. Yeah! Rick and I left early with Elle who needed to be at her ceremony by 10:30AM (the ceremony was scheduled for 11:30AM).

Thankfully, this year the middle school was able to secure the Performing Arts theater in town so we had the luxury of comfortable seats and air conditioning. The theater allowed those with disabilities to enter first so we took advantage of this perk since my mom was with us. Our seats were perfect (in the row behind the last of the graduating students) and we were at the end of the row by the aisle for easy restroom access (what can I say...Rick and I are middle-aged). The ceremony was longer (more than 300 names to read through and students to trudge across the stage) but it went fairly quickly and was well orchestrated so there were no delays.

What started out as a happy day soon took a turn. After the ceremonies, Lynn, the kids, my mom, Rick and I went out for a late lunch. While in the restaurant, Lynn received a call from my brother-in-law (who was on his way back to work after the ceremonies) to let her know about the sudden death of NBC's premier political analyst Tim Russert. Rick and I have been admirers of Tim for some time and his death, at such an early age, was devastating for us. We cannot imagine this election year without Tim and his incredible ability to explain the intricacies of American politics in his very personal, down-to-earth way. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Maureen, son Luke, dad Russ, the rest of the Russert family and his family at NBC/MSNBC as they all face life without this wonderful man.


Susie said...

Our school district has not yet adopted that term for graduation.
Seems every level from preschool on is having ceremonies at this time of year.
That was quite the shock about Tim Russert.

Linda said...

Culmination? Somehow it just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?

As for Tim Russert, I was totally shocked to read that on the internet last night, I just couldn't believe it. I really admired him as a newsman and watched the tribute The Today Show did for him this morning. It choked me up to watch Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw get choked up; you could tell that they had lost a true friend and valued colleague.

Renee said...

Congratulations to the Culminates? Well congrats to the kids. We're all proud of you!

It was quite shocking to hear that about Tim. We've all lost a great person.

Ralph said...

I went to a Catholic middle school (St Christopher in East Hartford)and they did not hesitate to call it a 'graduation'. Weeks of practice in the graduates songs to sing...lots of songs in a polished production after the Mass(I still remember part of the ceremony...all the way back in 1969!)

Patti said...

Tim Russert's sudden passing is just horrible. Incomprehensible.
He was brilliant, but never talked down to people.

As for the culmination..interesting term I guess! Glad the kids' ceremonies went off without a hitch.

Please tell Lynn we miss her. ;-)

the moose buyer said...

I watched the memorial service for Tim yesterday and cried along with the rest of the country. What a great man he was and what a legacy he left for Luke who was absolutely wonderful through this horrible week. I watched as he consoled the many who came to his dad's wake. I predict a career for Luke at NBC and expect just like his father, it will be a great one.