It’s April, so we’re thick in the middle of one of Redwood’s biggest holiday seasons.

I’m referring, of course, to high school graduation season.


It’s April, so we’re thick in the middle of one of Redwood’s biggest holiday seasons. I’m referring, of course, to high school graduation season. Redwood Falls makes a much bigger deal about high school graduations – and more importantly, graduation parties – than any other town I’ve ever lived in. That’s fine; I don’t mean it as a criticism. It’s just one of our local cultural things.  Other towns might make a bigger deal than us about, I don’t know, getting your first three-digit bowling score or something. I was thinking making a huge deal about graduations could run into real money for families now. There are so many more things kids graduate from these days. Back when I was a kid (Dixon said, leaning back in his rocking chair on the general store porch and putting his feet on an apple barrel), you only officially graduated from two things – high school and college. Today, kids get to enjoy elaborate graduation ceremonies from kindergarten, fourth grade, and eighth grade. In those ancient days, when you stepped out of the school on the last day of eighth grade, you just said, “Yay!” and were a ninth grader. Recently I was horrified to realize I’ve never officially graduated from any of them. What if my future employers ask to see my kindergarten diploma? Imagine the scene: I’m at the White House accepting a medal of honor and someone runs through the crowd screaming, “Wait! Wait! Dixon never graduated from kindergarten!” Everyone in the crowd looks at each other awkwardly. The president looks at me and frowns. “Well? Did you graduate from kindergarten?” he asks. “Well, technically, not as such…” I mutter, “…but I did go on to first grade, so by definition, I must have graduated fro…” “Yes,” the president sighs, “but did you graduate from kindergarten?” “Um, well, ah…” The president snatches the medal out of my hand, whops me upside the head with it, and the Senate makes me go through the spanking machine. The only graduation I actually attended was my high school one, in the old Lincoln school’s combination gymnasium and theater. (You whippersnappers just imagine watching a basketball game being played up on the stage at the Estebo Performing Arts Center to get an idea of what it was like.) They set up a chair for me on the stage and everything, so it would have been rude not to attend. The main thing that stands out about that ceremony is how hot and humid it was.  Until you’ve worn a graduation gown, you have no idea how hot and humid those things are. They should pack them in winter survival packs for people’s cars. The best part was tossing our pointy-cornered caps up in the air and cowering under our arms when they fell back on us. It’s amazing more students don’t lose an eye that way. I missed my college graduation, because I was occupied at the time, busy sitting on my butt on a picnic table in Altoona, Iowa waiting for my car’s fuel ignition system to be repaired. At least the college mailed me my diploma later. I actually have something I can show people if necessary. If I can find out where I left it, of course.