Good Old Days Revisited

Oh, to relive those long gone graduation days.

Attending junior high commencement exercises for the lone grandchild brought reflections of our own eighth grade graduation.

An especially fond recollection is class day. Throughout grade school years, that time had been anticipated and planned of sorts.

Part of the school tradition was passing a torch of knowledge from the graduating class to underclassmen.

A personal goal had been to accept it as a seventh grader, and present the lighted candle accented by blue and gold streamers as a graduate. That remembrance remains fond half a century later.

Unique to our school, prophecy was portrayed across the gym stage as being read. We bounced on our pre-school red rocking horse and roped a calf dummy, predicting future as a rodeo winner. Obviously, that never materialized.

There were 24 in our class, and about equal number in the eighth grade across town, so classrooms were combined for the official ceremonies.

It was an apparent proud time for our parents. Yet, being at that “stage of life,” for lack of better or legitimate excuse,  sadly, we had a “chip on our shoulder” that day.

The scowling, annoying, arrogant attitude showed through plainly and remains engraved  for perpetuity in family photographs.

Still, particularly important was the graduation gift. At least we consider it that, although perhaps timing coincidental. A new two-horse tandem trailer was purchased, so we could go to horse shows around the area.

That was second best thing that’d ever happened, right after getting our horse Spot three years earlier. It’d look odd today, but air springs, a hitch and wiring were installed on the’63 Ford Galaxy 500, the trailer hooked on. Nellie Belle loaded, and away the family went.

Only to a handful of circuit events in a 30-mile radius, but enough the third best thing; our yearend second in breakaway roping 10-13. Award certificate with name hand scribed remains prized possession.

Interesting reflection about that teenage cowboy accomplishment. In four point shows, we always caught our calf on the second loop, and placed second each time. Clearly, competition wasn’t tough as today.

Despite, three other school graduations, kindergarten, high school and college, eighth grade remains most memorable.

Reminds us of Job 29:6:  “Oh, how I long for the good old days when nothing seemed too difficult.”