Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, bumpers all round, friends of the decanter, as yesterday the Family Robbo went down to the Virginny Tidewater to attend Middle Gel’s college graduation. Huzzay, Huzzah!

(Absurdly enough, this was the first real graduation ceremony we had been to since this same gel finished high school, what with the lockdowns and all.)

The festivities started with a lunch with the Gel, her Young Man, and his family, as well as the Former Llama Military Correspondent and his elder daughter. This was our first meeting with said Young Man’s family, and I’m not sure I made the best of impressions: As I’ve noted here before, I can’t understand much of what is being said when there are multiple conversations going on at the same time and therefore tend not to participate. No doubt I’m already being summed up once again as “cold and aloof”. Eh, I’m used to it.

Due to the threat of rain, it was decided to hold the graduation itself indoors. And because it was unpossible to squash everybody into the same space at the same time, it was further decided to do the thing on a rolling basis: the kidz signed up for specific time-slots and at such times headed over to the gym to walk across the stage and shake hands with the school president (whose ability to maintain a smile all that time left Ol’ Robbo in something like awe) while we parents looked on from the floor. (And because this is the 21st Century, the Gel’s grandparents were able to watch it livestreamed from Flahrudah.) In the meanwhile, the atmosphere was something more like a giant open house, as we strolled about and visited various places and events of interest. I must confess that I much prefer this approach to the traditional litany of boring speeches, endless lines of faceless grads, and being parboiled under the hot, steamy sun.

The day ended with a bit of practical biznay, as Ol’ Robbo was made to load several of the Gel’s trunks, apparently packed with lead ingots, into the back of the Honda Juggernaut to bring home, thus saving her a bit of space in her own car when she comes home next week.

Nonetheless, a good time was had by all.

So here we are. Two down and one to go. And speaking of which, the Good Sport of the day was Youngest Gel. She had her last final Friday morning and, being booted out of her dorm the same day, immediately afterwards undertook the ten hour drive home. Despite that, she gamely got up early yesterday morning and joined us for the trip and the festivities, and furthermore did not complain once. Ol’ Robbo would have lost a lot of money had he betted on the likelihood of all that happening.

** The “theme” of my college crew. We happened to have a 35th reunion zoom meeting this past week at which we surprised our old coach, who had an enormous impact on all of us, with the news that we have kicked in to establish an endowment in his name for supplying the program with new shells. The Bowie song, which was a staple of our team winter workouts, has been floating around in the back of my head for days.