Everywhere I look I see cars with “Seniors 2019” marked all over them. You would think these kids are glad to graduate and get on with their lives. There is a lot of pride in having achieved this rite of passage of surviving high school. This week they will walk the aisle and become high school graduates. That always has a good ring to it.
I can still remember my senior year of high school back in the early ’60s. I drove a 1956 Ford with dual carburetors, glass pack mufflers and a converted floor shift. My clothes were cool with pegged pants, madras shirts, penny loafers and white socks. Even my short hair with the waterfall cut in the front and ducktails in the back was right on. Man, just how cool could a guy be?
In 1962 there was no such thing as political correctness so all of us were required to attend baccalaureate services in our caps and gowns. Back then folks honestly thought it was good for young people to hear about the Lord. As a matter of fact, that service drew a bigger crowd from the community than the graduation exercise. Isn’t strange how things have flip-flopped? Oh well, you can’t go back home even if you want to.
I still remember driving up on the school campus in my bad car, dressed as cool as a moose and having every hair in place. I was still dating my future wife at that time and she kept telling me how lucky she was to have me for a boyfriend. Of the several times she proposed to me, I think that day was the beginning. That girl has always had a thing for me. What can I say? It seems like yesterday I was with all my friends listening to the preacher talk about a brave new world and our place in it. Fifty-seven years later I’ve come to realize I needed to be brave to face the world and I’m still wondering where my place is in it. Of course, I married that sweet little girl who kept proposing and now she let’s me know regularly where my place is.
Looking at all these kids being so excited makes me realize my cool haircut now has a big hole in the back where I’ve gone bald. I still comb it down in the front but that’s just to cover my receding hairline. Then again, my pants still have that pegged look but that’s because of all the weight I’ve put on and they are just stretched so tight and my cool car has turned into a 10-year-old truck with almost 200,000 miles on it. It seems my cool has grown a little cold, except for the hot flashes I get when I forget my blood pressure medicine.
Life does move on, doesn’t it? Watching these kids gives all of us an opportunity to stop and reflect on our lives. This reflection can give us some insights into what we have accomplished and what we have left undone. The good thing is that every day is an opportunity to start anew. Those undone things can still be done if we focus on the priorities of this life. The first place to start in any endeavor is with God. The Bible says the beginning of wisdom is a reverence for the Lord. So, therefore, the greatest thing any of these young people, or us, will ever accomplish is to have a personal relationship with Him. Now that is cool.
Congratulations to the senior Class of 2019 and may you face your brave new world with courage, grace and faith. You’ll need all three.
Dr. Gerald Hallmark is a retired minister living in Alexander City whose column appears weekly in The Outlook.