Tuesday, May 05, 2009


(I will be posting the biweekly columns that I write for the Suburban Journals of St. Louis. They appear courtesy of that publication.)

What a crazy time of the year is springtime.
A quick look at our calendar has us booked for nearly two outings every weekend, not to mention the preschool graduations and baccalaureate and birthdays and end of school celebrations during the weekdays. Not that I’m complaining, since every happening is one of joy and accomplishment.
One of the most significant of all spring events is the graduation ceremony. With each, there is the requisite commencement address. That word, “commencement’, has always intrigued me. It’s very meaning shouts” new beginning.”
Back in 1997, a writer produced a famous graduation speech. It started out with the words “Wear Sunscreen.” I read through it yesterday, and found it impossible to improve upon. But here’s what I would say, if given a chance.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2009”.
Albert Einstein, that famous mathematician was also quite a philosopher. He once said “Not everything that can be counted, counts; and not everything that counts can be counted.” And this from a guy who made his living from numbers.
Another fairly famous guy by the name of Jesus had something to say about worrying, something we all do even though we know it does absolutely nothing to change what happens. When he talked about the birds in the air getting their supper, he was telling us to chill out. Most of the awful things we think will happen seldom do.
I learned way too late in life from my mom and mother-in-law and wife to never pass up a chance to be nice to somebody. A kind word, a simple compliment, even a pat on the back. And the corollary to this is “Smile so much people will wonder what you’re up to.”
I am also learning to try everyday to do my best, knowing that some days, that may not amount to a whole heck of a lot. But on others, the ones that work, my head can hit the pillow wondering just how I could possibly top this day.
Don’t dress in the dark, or at least lay out your socks the night before. Put a hat on in the winter. And always wear clean underwear. The Joaquin Andujar Maxim, Youneverknow, holds true here.
Old Abe Lincoln was right. Honesty is the best policy. Sometimes, your integrity is the only thing you can call your own.
If you want to excel, practice. A lot. Very few of us are so gifted we can just wing it. There is a reason Tiger Woods plays so often on Sundays.
Strive to love, but also strive to learn to accept love, for it is the essence of life that is too often invisible to the eye.
Never pass up an opportunity to hold a baby.
And remember that the three most welcome words in any speech are “So, in conclusion.”
So, in conclusion…
Trust in a Higher Power, what ever you may conceive that to be. You may stray from this in the coming years, but know that He is always there, peeking out of the blinds, waiting for your headlights to come down the street.
And, oh yeah… the “sunscreen” thing?
That, too.

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