We’re a good story and a half up from the graduates. He walks to the line and accepts his degree. He moves slowly, like his father, as if time waits for him.

I remember the first time I saw him, brand new, in the white bassinet in my Grandma Sally’s bedroom, a bassinet which I had been told had once been mine. There were no hard feelings, however, as I was already 12 and had no use for it. We’re more like brothers than cousins. And we have both become college graduates, a growing trend in our family as one generation steps up to the plate.

I remembered his struggles as a student, balancing work and school on a timeline that might not have been the way he wanted. But when he stood for all the pictures he stood proud, determined, stronger than the boy he was when he started. He has his father’s name, which was also our grandfather’s, a man who schooled us both from the chair on the front porch, where he smoked cigarettes while enjoying the breeze three seasons a year. We both found comfort on the arms and words of the same Grandma Sally who still listens and whispers advice while we sleep.
On the day when Obama spoke at Morehouse I was 800 miles away, listening to man that baby boy became tell me that it was attending my college graduation as a boy that inspired him to want to college himself, which I had never known. But the real treat for me came at the Afterparty.
The graduate exercised his right to work the grill. After the standard burgers and chicken and half smokes came three renditions on the summer shi’a kabobs I’ve made for July 4th for over a decade. And they came out perfect! One came with heat. Another came with an feel and charcoal flavor.

Neither of us have been boys for a long time, but it was good to see and recognize him as a man 😉