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What I think I know for sure

Thursday, May 27, 2021
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This week, I put my 37th special graduation section to bed. Put the big -30- on it.

In newspaper talk, that means I have taken part in producing and printing that many graduation sections, and I started the year after I graduated Iowa Park High School 38 years ago. My own children graduated IPHS 17 and 15 years ago.

The past few years I’ve known fewer and fewer graduates, but a quick look at the W.F. George Middle School Awards list this week reminds me that I’ll be putting together graduation sections for my children’s friends’ children in a few short years. Life really is a circle.

We are very excited about the issue this week because it is the first time in the almost 52-year history of the Iowa Park Leader, our graduation section is in full color inside and out and we can now carry color on the inside of the main section. We all worked hard to make this tremendous change happen by this week. I hope we did you proud, and finished strong as did the IPHS Class of 2021.

You may not believe this, but I’ve been here long enough to have read this senior class’s first grade letters to Santa and don’t think I don’t remember some of you asked for “mocan troll cars” and “neklesses”.

But while I don’t know most of you in the Class of 2021, I feel like I do after looking at your pictures off and on for the better part of the weekend while building the section. I’ve been known to give advice to graduates in the past, and I’m about to be known to again.

You can take it for what it’s worth, but if my age is any indication I may have accumulated a little wisdom in my life.

•Life is not a destination, it is a continual journey.

Your life will always be lived inside the journey, so stop saying you’ll be happy when you get where you are going. Be happy in the moment.

•The dog will continue to eat your homework.

I’m 56 years old and while I was working on the graduation issue this week, I got distracted by the Lady Hawks Softball game (They’re in the Regional Finals this week, y’all!!!!!) and my dog ate several full pages of information I had scattered across my home office floor pertaining to the special section.

Thankfully, it was nothing a deep breath, a bunch of $15 words and two hours of recreating the scene of the crime couldn’t fix while I managed to get back to good. The dog may actually eat your homework, or it just may be a useful metaphor for life.

•You don’t always have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Nobody does all the time, anyways. There have been days in the past year where I researched the financial feasibility of making margaritas on a beach in Jamaica and other days where I considered becoming a full-time travel writer when this Covid thing ends. Next year, I may want to be an astronaut, and that really is OK.

•Don’t be afraid to leave home, and don’t be afraid to come home - even if it’s only for a visit.

• The truth will set you free, but you usually won’t appreciate it when the cage door is flung open. Regardless, you will come out on the other side better.

•You are remembered in this world for how you show up in this world. If you show up angry and as a jerk, I can assure you that is how you will be remembered. Ditto for bringing the fun or the light or the love.

•Finally, it may be the worst things that happen to you in your life that will bring you your greatest blessings, although you might not see the blessing for a while. But it is true we learn and grow more from our failures and trials than from our successes.

Unless the margarita making thing in Jamaica or travel writing gig works out, I think I have 13 years left in my career to be able to say I’ve participated in some small way in Iowa Park High School graduations for 50 straight years.

Go do great things in your own way, class of 2021.