Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Man from Swift Current - Chapter Eight - Graduation

Chapter Eight
Dad told us we could return to Swift Current to finish the school as he promised Aunt Mary he would.  The rest of the school year flew by without incident.   Finally, the big day arrived…Graduation!!  My family and extended family came to Swift Current to see me graduate from high school.   I was so glad to finally be out of school.   Even Mom’s parents came. They flew into Calgary, Alberta, and rented a car to drive to Swift Current.   My maternal grandparents are what Mom calls genteel people.   Grandma is the perfect picture of Southern charm and decorum.   Watching her with Mom, I could see where Mom had gotten here refined mannerisms and proper posture.   

Grandpa is what I would call a gentleman farmer.   He was just as refined and proper as my Grandma.  I knew I had to always be on my best behavior when they were around.   No disrespect was ever tolerated or bad manners of any kind.   I guess that’s why they were always civil to my Dad despite their differences.   Their Southern gentility demanded it of them.  My Grandpa owns a peach farm that my uncles manage for him.   Of course, Georgia is famous for its peaches and my family prides themselves in producing the best peaches in the entire state of Georgia…at least that is what Grandpa always tells us.
After the graduation ceremony, I introduced Ian, his parents, and Pat and Gene to my extended family before we all headed to a local restaurant to celebrate.   While we ate dinner at a local restaurant, the conversation at the table turned to our plans for college.
Mom turned to Ben and asked, “Ben did you get that hockey scholarship you applied for?”
“Yes, I did Aunt Eva.   I will be going to Minneapolis to school on a full-ride scholarship.   I can hardly wait until the fall!”
Then all eyes turned to me when Mom asked, “Well, Glenn, have you decided what you want to do about college?”
Before I could reply, Mom’s Dad said, “He’ll have his tuition paid in full along with room and board to any university he wishes to attend as our graduation gift.”
Everyone around the table congratulated me and expressed their appreciation to my grandparents for their generosity.   I was especially grateful to them since I didn’t have any money to speak of and didn’t want to ask my Dad to fund my education as I didn’t want to be dependent on him for anything.
I looked over at my dad and mom.   Mom was smiling and tears were streaming down her face.   Dad looked like he had been sucker punched.   Dad didn’t like my grandparents and they didn’t like him.   There wasn’t much he could say since everyone else at the table was excited for me and telling my grandparents that they were wonderful to give such a gift
“That means you can go to the same college with me,” said Ian, as we were exiting the restaurant.
Ian had already applied to the University of Texas El Paso.   His parents weren’t happy about it but it did solve the problem of not having to side with one or the other…meaning going to school in London or Bergen.
“I will still have to apply to see if I get accepted,” I said.
“I’m sure you'll get in.   They accepted me didn’t they!” laughed Ian.
“You do have point there,” I said.
Outside the restaurant, I gave Ian a quick hug of good-bye before he got into his parents car.  
“I love you,” Ian whispered in my ear.
“I love you, too,” I whispered back.
We had said our real good-byes a couple nights before at his place.   We made love to each other all night long, since we knew we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a long while.   As Ian drove off with his parents, I had to blink really hard to keep myself from falling part in front of my family.   I was really missing him already.

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