Graduation, an Essay on Summer Milestones and Good Posture

Water color painting of a bouquet of flowers - Southern Lady Magazine
Illustration by Judy Jamieson.

By Ann Dorer

In bluebird-blue caps and gowns, the graduates marched with reverent decorum down the center aisle of the church. I strained to see my granddaughter Maggie the moment she came into view. I had arrived at the church early enough to get a seat at the end of the pew next to the graduates’ path. When Maggie passed me, I could easily see how beautifully the color of her cap and gown matched her blue eyes.

Oh, my precious grandgirl. It seemed as if she had been born only yesterday. And here she was, graduating from pre-kindergarten! Tomorrow she would graduate from college; the next day she would get married.

“It’s not time that flies,” I thought to myself. “It’s life!”

I sighed.

A passel of graduates sat on the stage, but my eyes stayed on Maggie. I watched as her 5-year-old self moved the tassel on her cap left, then right, left, then right. Sometimes she dangled it straight in the middle and sort of flicked it back and forth with her fingers.

As the program progressed—on and on—I watched Maggie slump down low enough in her chair so that she was able to prop both her feet in the slot between the two chairs in front of her. If only I could have caught her eye, I would have motioned for her to put her feet down. I worried that she was misbehaving…

It looked as if someone had dressed a can of wiggly worms in bright blue caps and gowns.

Until I noticed the girl who sat in front of Maggie. This fine graduate had managed to scoot herself so low in the chair that she was somehow lying on her back with bent knees, a position that completely obscured her head but gave the audience a clear view of the pink-and-white print of her undergarments. I scanned the rest of the stage. Decorum had completely disintegrated. It looked as if someone had dressed a can of wiggly worms in bright blue caps and gowns.

So I see it will not be tomorrow when Maggie graduates from college and not the next day when she marries. No. Like the other little wigglers, she still has a long, long way to go.

And I am glad.

Once a month, former editor and consummate Southern lady Ann Dorer shares her reflections on life in our beloved region. See her previous essay on  Becoming a Southern Lady for more of her thoughts on the feminine characteristics we love to celebrate.

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