Gold Bulova watches and the real world

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2007

It was a sunny afternoon in the fall when my father and I walked into Mr. Earl Johnson's jewelry store in Greenville.

I was 17 years old, a senior in high school and, sometimes, a little too big for my britches.

And I don't mean that literally.

It had become a tradition in my family that whenever one of us kids graduated from high school, our parents gave us a gold Bulova watch as a graduation present.

Well, that was very fitting for three young men, but by the time I came along, one might think that I, as a young lady, would be given something else. However, tradition is tradition.

I didn't expect anything else. I wanted my gold Bulova watch just like my brothers. It was my rite of passage, so to speak.

Actually, Daddy couldn't even wait until my graduation to give me the watch; he took me to Johnson's Jewelry early in my senior year so I would already have my watch. That was fine with me; I couldn't wait either.

I still wear that watch to this day.

When my oldest brother Van died, his gold Bulova watch was placed in my mother's cedar chest.

Some family traditions are just sacred.

While working at Revco Drugs in Greenville during my college years, the delicate gold chain that dangled from my watch got caught in the cash register while I was changing the roll of paper, and it was snatched off completely. I kept the chain but never had it replaced.

The glass surface has tiny scratches here and there, reminders that this watch has been present through many good times and many bad times.

The graduating class of 2007 will enter the real world now; many will leave and go to college, eager to shake the dust of &#8220small-town life” from their feet. Some will marry and settle down right here in Crenshaw County. Others will enter the world of work and soon discover that if you don't mail that car payment on time, you might wake up one morning and find your car gone.

Many of those who can't wait to get to a &#8220big city” will inevitably find themselves one day coming back &#8220home,” something they thought they would never do.

Of course, you can't tell them that now, can you?

They have to find it all out for themselvesŠ.just like we did.

As a classroom teacher, I've told many, many graduating seniors not to wish their lives away, that one day they would more than likely find themselves longing for the days when they were in high school and were surrounded by friends, classes, school lunches, P.E., special teachers, football games and pep rallies. I told them not to waste one moment because they were making memories, and soon, that would be all that was left of their high school years - memories.

I know that much of that advice fell on deaf ears at the time, only to be told many times later on down the road, &#8220Ms. Grayson, you were right.”

Of course I was right. But when I was 18, no one could have told me much either.

We can't live their lives for them.

However, I do know this. Every time I have looked at my gold watch over the years, I am reminded of who I am and where I came from. It's as much a part of me as the hair on my head.

All we truly have is time.

To the Class of 2007, don't waste one single moment of your precious lives. Make every one of these moments count for something, for someone else and for you.

May God richly bless you is my prayer.

Regina Grayson is managing editor of The Luverne Journal. She can be reached at 335-3541 or by email: