Heat was on for county#039;s grads last week

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The merry month of May has also been one of the busiest months of late. I started the month with the last high school proms of the three I covered this spring; it came to a close after covering three graduations in a row last week.

&#8220Pomp and Circumstance” is a stirring song, but I will be happy to put it on a shelf ‘til next spring, I do believe.

Somewhere along the way all that lovely, balmy spring weather fled and summer arrived early – and with a vengeance.

Last Wednesday morning it felt almost too hot to breathe out at the new softball complex where Greenville High's seniors had gathered for their annual picnic.

The kids sought refuge by sitting on the ice coolers beneath the eaves of the building, and chatting about summer plans and where they were going to college in the fall; they pulled out cell phones and snapped photos on one another.

If I hadn't been worried about my camera, the idea of being sprayed by one of the Super Soakers certain jokesters were putting to good use seemed downright appealing.

Kathy Murphy, principal at the high school, showed she is a great sport by once again letting her students coat her in shaving cream. Then again, she's a very fit woman; I suspect more than one of those kids got their just desserts from the speedy and strong Dr. Murphy before the day was over.

Wednesday night, I felt deep sympathy for the Georgiana High seniors in their stifling caps and gowns on that steamy field.

I kept wiping my eyes, not from tears, but from the sweat that kept streaming down my own face as I stood out on the field and snapped photos.

I watched one of the boys furiously flapping his program in an attempt to cool off a little. I took his photograph; it captured the moment so well.

Was is that hot when I gave my salutatory address 28 (heavens!) years ago?

Global warming hadn't yet struck, so, maybe not. Maybe time has rewritten a few of the lines, as the song says.

I do remember the relief when the speech was over; the pride in moving the tassel to the right, and the exuberant and scary sense I was moving into uncharted territory.

I doubt those feelings have changed so much in the time since I walked across the field at Tiger Stadium.

&#8220It's a long walk,” I heard one of the graduates say a little uneasily, as he watched a classmate march across the field in Georgiana to take his seat.

The same trepidation, mixed with excitement and a bit of youthful cockiness, was repeated in the faces and voices at McKenzie on Thursday (a perfectly lovely example of how to do a truly &#8220short and sweet” ceremony), and FDA's graduation, held in the packed-to-the-gills sanctuary at Southside Baptist Church Friday night (thank heavens for air conditioning).

It was hard for me to believe the fourth graders I taught art and music to were actually posing with their diplomas Friday night, but it's true.

My advice to all those fresh-faced young things ready to take on the world: don't be in too much of a hurry.

You'll be middle aged and wondering where the time went - and why it's so much hotter than it used to be - in no time flat.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.