Monday, August 17, 2009

I go back on Saturday and I CANNOT WAIT. Ahhhhhhhhh Davidson. I got to talk to dear Jeremy today as he makes his way out West for the year and I said, "I have to say that the last week of the semester honestly ranks in the top... five weeks of my life, ever." And it DOES. It was wonderful. I would love to relive it. So I will, in writing form. From my good ol' journal.

♫Chicken biscuits (AYYYYY!) where’s my grilled cheese?

And now, the tale(s) of the EPIC POST-EXAM WEEK ‘09

May 12 2009
I slept in and then did all the productive things I hadn't done during exams— ie laundry, gym, sold books back (a lousy $38... what the HELL), etc. I just really enjoyed puttering around campus with nothing pressing to do. Then I met Sarah at Commons after her last exam— yay! And we had a fabulous 2-hour lunch with a wonderfully random group—Jenny and Rieti, then John Allen, Thomas, Monique—what a great class I have—and we sat around and ate and laughed and talked about so many different things. I just love Commons food and atmosphere and company. We talked about what places on campus we would have named after us—I said (after thinking a little but not long) the endzone of Belk Arena. And Thomas, Rieti, and Sarah all immediately said “You would!” Hahaha love it. Then Sarah and I watched/sang along to/made fun of "Newsies" and later (after my nap) we watched "27 Dresses" with the incredibly attractive James Marsden.

May 13 2009
The epic-ness really began. Well first, I went to the bookstore sale and bought a #41 jersey— yay! Then last Commons lunch with Sarah and Devon and then we went to lake campus with Lindsey Graf! When we got back, I went to the gym, showered, then Mary and I went for an early dinner at the Brickhouse to catch up, which was excellent and delicious... I'm always so glad we go to the same school. When we got back it was only 6:15 or so and around 6:30 David called asking if I wanted to go grab dinner and just "make it an adventure"--yes! So I went over to the Eco-House and saw Carolyn, Jamie, Michael, Brianna, and James eating outside and the idea came up that instead of Ben and Jerry's later for dessert night, we could make homemade ice cream because they had a ton of cream they had to use up in the fridge. So David found a recipe and then we drove to Moe's so he could get a burrito and then to Harris Teeter to get ice, rock salt (or "ice cream salt" as it was obviously labeled), and brownie mix. It was WONDERFUL cruising down 77 with the windows down, singing really loudly (because hey, it's us). Then we got back to the house and I put together the brownie mix and he started on the ice cream and we texted everyone to alert them. Then I walked over to Cannon with Carolyn, Brianna, and Jamie to deliver some things to good old Norbert's room. Got back to the house and Rob was there (yay!) and soon Grace came, and James Wudel, Liza and Hannah and James Johnson and Rachel Richardson... such a great group. And for the next 2 1/2 hours, we sat around the table playing banana grams (like speed scrabble, SO much better than regular), singing along to Jamie's iTunes, cranking the ice cream and eating brownies... it was FANTASTIC— so much fun to have nothing to do besides enjoy each other's company. At one point Carolyn got an email from a pastor friend asking "What is friendship?" and people kept trying to come up with definitions until finally we put on "I'll Be There for You" and Jamie passed out utensils for microphones, hahaha. Grace drove me back around 1 AM and said "This is the first semester where I don't want to leave." Oh man.

May 14 2009
I started packing and watched "Something's Gotta Give" with Sarah, and then Grace picked up me, Rob, and Sarah Coffey (back from Beach Week, yaaay!) and we drove to David's wonderful house in Charlotte for delicious bbq and squash casserole and ice cream and strawberries and brownies… ahhhh. Carolyn and other EcoHouse/DO folks came too and we sat outside in the wonderful summery air and played with Aspen. And laughed and talked about anything and everything. I love his parents too. Oh, and Sarah got the LVC job she wanted in Seattle!! THEN we—me, Sarah, Rob, Grace, and Carolyn—went to Summit where Sarah got her first Summit beer and sat outside and listened to the live music and made fun of the silly lyrics and talked… then we joined Brianna, James Garrett, Rachel R, at the Ecohouse and watched “You’ve Got Mail.” And halfway through Aspen crashed in with David and Liza in tow. I love feeling comfortable in that wonderful house, and it’s so strange to think about the last time I watched a movie there—“Across the Universe,” a week before I left for England. It feels like a LIFETIME ago. Man. I'm so happy Rob has become such a big part of my friend group— it's so funny to think of actually meeting him at Steve's baccalaureate 2 years ago. Same with the lovely Grace— when she wandered over to Mark's house during our '07 cookout. They are both so important to me. Such a great night.

May 15 2009
I went for a wonderful walk in the warm muggy rain with the lovely Ann who I love so much. We really get each other and I love that we can come together without having seen each other for awhile and just pick right back up. I just value her advice and opinions and her listening so much. I told her about my new idea (as suggested by Mom and Dad post-convocation)—being a college chaplain. And she was so enthusiastic and supportive of it and it made me happy. And I borrowed a cute black dress of hers for graduation! (it’s supposed to rain… ugh) We are going to write letters this summer! Then—gym, lunch, shower, packed, watched Pride & Prejudice… Then Rob, Sarah, Grace, and I finally made scones in Sarah’s apartment! (Grace had been talking about it ever since the retreat) It was great to have one more baking/hang out time. Sarah made pancakes too and we had tea—and the scones were chocolate chip and they were INCREDIBLE! And then Jeremy came over too, YAY!! It was great being with all of them. Kind of like the calm before the storm, before graduation weekend kicked in. Normalcy before the change. Sigh. Later Sarah B’s mom took us to Brooklyn South for dinner (and I couldn’t help thinking that the last time I was there the Wildcats were unbeaten in conference play…) Around 10, I met Jerms and Sarah C in front of Flowe to go over to the Eco-House party. Rob had said earlier that he didn’t think he would go, so as we were walking over Jeremy called him to try and change his mind—and he was already there! Hahaha. It was a wonderfully loud yet chill party—not surprising-- just standing around singing talking laughing (sometimes yelling, ie in the case of Matt Baum) ahh yay. Jeremy Carolyn Sarah C David Andrew Robert Grace Jamie Rachel Brianna Christie Jean Jesse Lucy James James Liza Hannah Zoe Sonia Thomas John Allen Chris Burton Will Bryan etc etc—just a fantastic crowd. I feel like I can really be myself around these people. Jamie was upstairs finishing her paper so we went to tell her goodbye. I’m SO glad she’ll be here next semester!

May 16 2009
I packed up all morning and early afternoon. Got a text from Joe, who was on his way to campus, yay! He came down the hill and we stood outside the lovely sophomore apartments and talked for awhile; he launched into Quantico stories which I always enjoy hearing in person. He told me he was going to Summit to write a squadron attack order for TBS—“That has probably never been done before,” I chuckled. He was thinking of using "Reaper" for his attack order call bc he needed something badass, haha. After we’d been out there for a little while, I heard a car door slam and suddenly Dad and Mason appeared! So Joe got to meet them (re-meet Dad), and it was just neat to have three of my favorite men standing together. Later, Dad and Mason started loading the car and we got a good number of things in. Then Dad left to go meet John and Lucile and Mason and I walked up the hill to the Union and just moseyed around campus for a little bit. We went by Baker and he remembered that one time he and Dad had watched Thomas Sander shoot around at one basket while the rest of the team was at the other end—wow! I don’t think I knew that. And we remembered the only game he’s been to in person—the game that started so much, February 3, 2007 vs. UNCG. Oh man. Then we walked to Rich Circle and Jeff Tolly drove us, Devon, Bill, Amanda, and Lindsey G to Charlotte for Devon’s birthday dinner. It was really fun to have Mason there because he can always hold his own and I was glad for my friends to finally get a chance to meet him—he is such a great, likeable guy. And I really enjoy that group—it was so fun. The food was great too—fried chicken and cheese grits and mashed potatoes… mmm. Then Dad, John and Lucile picked Mason up from the restaurant and I rode back to Dson with the crew. And as we laughed and sang along loudly to the radio and Jeff Tolly danced in the driver’s seat, it really hit me that this was the last night of JUNIOR YEAR. That this night next year will be SO different.

When we got back on campus I went back to the room for a bit and then went up to Becca’s room—it felt very fitting being in Belk at least a little bit on my last night. We visited for awhile and then we walked down to Beer Truck! I didn’t really know what to expect but it was FANTASTIC. It’s such a Davidson tradition—half classy (a bluegrassish band, a tent, food, sundresses) and half not (roaming around a parking lot in the dark drinking as much alcohol as you want). But it gave me yet another sense of—this is my family. This is my place. We are ALWAYS supposed to be together (much like what I feel at Belk Arena, but different too). I saw more wonderful people at one time that maybe only Detroit rivals it. Becca. Joe. Rieti. David. Jeremy. Patrick. Sarah. Rob. Ann. Jenny and Liz. Laura Beach. John Bryant. Lee. Patricia. Laura Fontaine. Kealy. Carolyn. Savannah. SO MANY. And I think the coolest thing for me is that the alums come back. They WANT to be here for this, they WANT to see everybody. Their 4 years here had such an impact that they plan to come back (maybe free beer plays into it too… who knows :-D). And it just felt very familial and celebratory. I belong here. Joe came over and told me that he’d decided not to use Reaper—“Why not?” I demanded. “Brimstone,” he said. Oh Lord. Found Jeremy and Sarah, and then David and Carolyn, and Rob saw us and immediately left his golf buddies. Patrick came over and slung his arm around my shoulder. Patricia came running in and crushed Sarah in a huge hug. Ann found us and we all yelled and had an MCF group hug. JB came over and gave me a hug and stood in our circle. Wilkins came over and Jeremy “apologized” for not playing “Shut de Do” until the end—“I just wanted you to keep coming back.” It was just so… DAVIDSON. So COMMUNITY. I loved that I could see the basketball players bobbing through the crowd. I loved seeing families. I loved that I could see so many happy familiar faces, from near and far away. I loved seeing Fountain in his suit, patrolling. I talked to Patricia and Laura F. about coming back from abroad, about getting closer to friends and how change is okay. I loved seeing reunions and love right in front of my face. And as the night wore on it was easier and harder to acknowledge that some of my best friends are leaving. Hugged Jeremy—“I love you,” I said. “I love you too,” my big brother said back. I kept my arms around Carolyn, Sarah, David so much. Towards the end of the night Jeremy said to me, David, Andrew—“every time I see you guys I get a little closer to crying so please go away”—joking and yet completely serious. Carolyn and I walked back a little after midnight. She hugged me and said, “I guess it’s good to love people enough to be upset.” So true. It was a wonderful night that will stick in my memory for a long time—and I know next year’s will also be wonderful but in a completely different way.

May 17 2009
So. Graduation Day. I knew it would be inside as soon as I looked out the window and saw the clouds. Sigh oh well. Maybe next year?? (Please??) I really do love the very unique feeling of rushing around getting ready on this last day—a different rush from the rest of the school year, knowing that nearly everyone on campus is rushing to get to the same place. I showered, got dressed, finished packing and Dad and Mase came and kept packing the car as I dashed up the hill with my heavy purse slung over my shoulder trying not to be late. The Union wasn’t quiet today like last year—people were cutting through to Baker. Grace called saying she was saving seats and I ran into David and Sarah Cline who went over to help her. Grabbed juice, water, and a granola bar and stood in front of dear Tory in line and then said hello to dear Patricia who was sitting at a table eating a bagel having “an identity moment.” Glanced back at the framed USA Today over the water fountain and dashed out the door. Walked into my favorite building on campus but with no brass blaring through glass, grabbed a program and found my friends waving at me from the brown bleachers. I love being a part of this crowd. I sat with Rob, Grace, Sarah Cline, Ashley, Kate, Becca, and David. It was great to watch people flow inside and recognize so many of them, to hear the murmurs and mutters keep building. To have the music start and watch Dr. G. carry the scepter so regally and all the profs follow her, and to watch my friends process in through their faculty, silly and bemused grins on their faces. And I realized that I just think it’s cool that we as a culture celebrate learning and education in such a significant way. (David, during the procession: “This is really random, but this makes me think of it—do we actually know how many students attend Hogwarts?” Hahaha what a wonderful question) Standing for them and pointing them out excitedly as we saw them—Jeremy, Sarah, Carolyn, Kelli… Rachel, Emily, Patrick, Andrew, Max (tall above all the rest). Patty Perillo gave the invocation and prayed that they would be “unafraid of miracles”—David and I both really liked that phrase. Listening to the intro for the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award winner—and as soon as Shandley said “from Malimar, Florida” David and I nearly yelled “CAROLYN!” YAY! We gave her a standing ovation. And then we watched all of them get their diplomas, another wonderful class that I will miss. DB and I imitated Tom Ross and Clark Ross approving the diplomas with lots of big words... I got all giddy and pointed to the yellow banner that reads ELITE 8 2008 and whispered to him “I would just like to point out the wonderful banner that is hanging up there.” “Lower than all the others,” he whispered back, “as it should be.” (and it reminded me yet again that I share the same memories with so many people in this room) We sang the alma mater in harmony twice—once during the long stint of names, once when we were supposed to with everybody else. We chuckled over the people in front of us, the old woman in all pink and purple (even her glasses frames—minus the rims) and the two next to her who kept playing with their iphones. We lamented not being in the endzone, and the old lady in lavender who was sitting in his exact seat, back middle left. And as we made our way down the stairs to leave, I couldn’t help it—I hummed the bars that the pep band plays—and he caught on, “it is fight song time—” so we sang the entire thing in the middle of post-graduation rainy rush. Hahahaha. Then there was this crazy overcrowded rush, and it was raining outside which made it really hard to find anyone—and yet, miraculously, I did! I found Joe and made him take a picture as usual. “Now I’m a SENIOR,” I exclaimed to him, “How the fu—hell is that possible?” “I just like how you almost said ‘fuck’ but then changed it in the middle,” he replied as we stood in the lobby of my favorite place on campus, the place that he helped make my favorite. And then I wandered more, randomly running into people—BVD, JEREMY! (We both shook our heads and gave each other this look that said “I just—can’t—process—this” and hugged hard), Carolyn (love!), Sarah Elizabeth Coffey (her eyes widened and she slammed into my arms and as we both tried not to cry I told her father who was taking pictures that his daughter is one of my favorite people in the world—“Mine too,” he beamed), Becca, Emily Powell!... oh! And Kealy, and NAKIAAAA and KATHERINE HESTER! I heart ’08. And I just love running around in a huge Davidson crowd, being part of this family.

Then, in the freezing cold rain, I ran to the Molly McKay House—it was weird seeing Chambers lawn empty on graduation day, when it’s normally bursting with sunny proud energy. But it was great to be with MCF folks one more time and celebrate with Jeremy, Sarah, Kelli, and their families. We ate bbq and I took pictures and Glenn and Ashley were there… It was great. But soon I had to leave bc Dad and Mason were ready to get on the road. (Oh! And Rob Spach was there too!) Well, first we took a group MCF picture on the front steps of Molly McKay—and later, looking at it, I realized that I would trust any or every single one of them with a problem, with a secret, with my life—David, Grace, Robert, Sarah, Kelli, Jeremy, Ashley, Glenn, Ann, Louis, JB… it was a special revelation. And then I hugged them all and told each of them I loved them so much and then I left. We drove back to Irwin and I cleared out the rest of my stuff and had to tell dearest Sarah goodbye (NO!). As Dad and Mason put the rest of the stuff in the car, I ran down to the Outpost because Rachel and Eva had invited me to their party there—and thankfully I got there right as they were cleaning up! Oh Rachel Hope my dear. Then as we were driving away, I realized I’d left my bag at the Molly McKay House—so we stopped back by and I ran into the front room and ran straight into David who was leaving so I got another big hug and then I got to tell Grace, Sarah, and Jeremy goodbye again. Phew.

It’s just the best place in the world to me. And once again, home in the quiet, with so many thoughts, with one year left, I say thank you for helping me find it, Lord.

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