Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Alex's Graduation

What a great weekend this has been. Last Wednesday evening Lisa and I flew to Salt Lake to attend Alex’s graduation ceremonies for the University of Utah. While we were there though, we were able to participate in a whole slew of various activities, not the least of which was to play with my latest grandchild. Sawyer Crowley.
I’m afraid I’m going to have to break my story up into three or five sections. It is late and I didn’t get much sleep last night.
Wednesday late, Lisa and I caught a flight to SLC on Alaskan Airlines. Lisa was able to get some really good deal on the tickets so it made no sense at all to drive.

We got in at midnight and Alex picked us up and took us to Alycia’s.
Thursday Alex had to work so I slept in a bit and then I dropped Lisa off at the church history library while I had a meeting with some potential investors I've been working with. I’m quite excited about it but that is a story for a different day.
Lisa and I then went to Alex’s new condominium that he just bought. I’m rather impressed that Alex was able to buy a house while still a college student. Kira and Justin also bought a house while grad students at the U of F.
Alex’s commencement exercises were Thursday evening. His speaker was Conrad Anker. Conrad is a U of U alum who has climbed several mountains including Mount Everest but as a speaker he was a bit disappointing. Having climbed some very challenging mountains I could only imagine what cool analogies he could make about overcoming obstacles in our lives but it never happened. While he gave an OK speech it really only amounted to him telling us how we’re all destroying the world and we need to stop doing it. That is an OK message in and of its self but he delivered it in a boring manner that seemed to deflate you rather than energize you. The student speaker was actually a much better speaker. In fact the rest of the meeting was actually pretty good.
The next morning was Alex’s convocation. That meeting was much more interesting. Before the convocation they served the business students breakfast. I think that is their way of getting everyone there on time. It was a pretty good breakfast.
After breakfast we walked with Alex to his line and he was there early enough that he was right next to the flag for Business Administration. He wasn’t able to be the flag bearer but he did get to carry the card for his group.
Lisa and I went to the convocation early with Alex and saved seats for Alycia and Sarah who were coming later with the kids. Sarah actually drove up from St George to attend. She ended up having to leave Friday morning so the timing worked out that she would get to Alycia’s just in time to help Alycia bring the kids. Imagine our surprise when not just Alycia and Sarah showed up but Ben as well.
We managed to plan things well enough that we weren’t sitting all that far from Alex so we were able to see the shocked expression on his face as well when he saw Ben walk in. It was very cool. I love it when our kids can all get together. Kira and Brandon were missed but it was great to have four of our kids together. 

The Dean of the business school gave an excellent talk about how important it is to not only be successful in life but also to be happy. He told a story of US President Lyndon B Johnson  who was very driven and very successful but his life was so out of balance that later in his life he was absolutely miserable because he didn’t know what to do with himself. Supposedly he actually gathered his household staff together once in a while to have planning meetings about getting the yard work done and other household chores.
He also told of gatherings he had been to. Some gatherings were with very wealthy people and some were with poor people and he was surprised to observe that the same proportion of people were happy at both the happy and the poor gatherings. He concluded that the happy people were the ones with balance in their lives. It was a good talk and an excellent message. Go out and be successful but not at the expense of your happiness.
He also talked about a medallion that all of the students had been given. The idea was borrowed from the military and was a sign of brotherhood. It sounds like it is similar to my “iron ring” I got as an Engineer in Canada.
I was a bit surprised because most of these graduation ceremonies have been quite boring but this one was quite interesting. It was even better because Alex cut the most boring portion in half. Awarding hundreds of certificates to hundreds of students takes a very long time. Once Alex got his certificate however, instead of walking back to his seat he walked right on up the stairs and out the door. I didn’t hear anyone complaining as we followed him.
Alex then gave us all a tour of the new business building and as it turned out, it was an excellent place for taking pictures. 
After taking a bunch of pictures Alex decided that he wanted to eat his graduation meal at a Mexican place. That sounded great to me. Not only is Mexican, excellent food, it was also most likely the cheapest graduation meal I’ve ever bought.
After we were done at the University, Alycia took her babies home for a nap and Lisa, Alex, Ben, Sarah and I proceeded to the U-Haul rental place and moved Alex into his new digs.  It was actually quite funny because completely by accident Alex ended up wearing a Utah Shirt and Westview shorts while Sarah was wearing a BYU shirt and Mt Carmel shorts. That is funny because Westview and Mt Carmel are rival high schools and three of our kids went to Mt Carmel and three went to West View. To make it even better, BYU and Utah are rival Universities and two of our kids went to BYU and two went to Utah. Very funny.
We were thrilled that Ben was able to make it up for Alex’s graduation but alas, his time was limited and he had to leave early Saturday morning. I was somewhat semiconscious Saturday at 5:00AM when I kissed them goodbye and they were gone.

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