Twenty-seven years ago, I sat in a sweat box, cloaked in a blue cap and gown, suffering through the pontification of a college president who had been invited to speak at my high school graduation.
It was a muggy Alabama Monday night. There had been thundershowers at the end of the afternoon. Enough said. Mama had been released from the hospital after major surgery about 10 days before, and in a gymnasium without air conditioning, I worried.
As for the commencement address, I couldn't tell you a thing that was said between the thank-yous -- the one after the introduction, and the one at the end of the speech. It finally ended, and life began.
Monday night, it will be my son who will march solemnly to "Pomp and Circumstance." It will be my son who will surely fidget through a speech that if it is longer than 10 minutes, then it will be too long. It will be his turn to take a stroll across a stage, shake a hand, flip a tassel and begin life in earnest.
Oh, there's still a lot of youth in front of him, presuming that's what the Lord has in mind. Even so, the steps across the stage surely represent the entrance into a world of which they have dreamed.
Maybe in 30 years or so, he'll think back fondly on his night when he watches a child of his own make their walk. Maybe he'll shed a tear for the child who grew up too quickly.
I know I will.