By Chris Six
As is often the case, the end of the year has me doing a bit of a retrospective, but probably more so than usual, with the kid in the midst of her senior year. Much of my life revolves around her and her mother, but some of these are personal experiences, too, as we prepare for life as college parentals, wherever that may be lead. And that’s a great place to start.
- The senior year — For the last several years, autumn has been dominated by football and marching band — trips to far off locations in rural Pennsylvania on Friday nights, often followed by trips to equally remote locales on Saturdays. From late August to late November, we barely have a moment to catch our breaths. This season, obviously, was particularly bittersweet. The kid mentioned last week she was closer to the end of the school year than the beginning. She’s ready, who wouldn’t at her age? But we’d be happy if it slowed down a little.
- Selling our house — We are determined to downsize when the kid goes to college, and once a decision is made on one of her top two locations, to head somewhere nearby. As anyone who has gone through the process can tell you, selling a house can dominate your life. From the moment you put it on the market, you are giving up a claim to your personal space. Our home holds a lot of memories for us, but I think all three of us are ready to put those memories where they belong and move on to the next place.
- The kid’s musical escapades — One of my fondest memories will definitely be the kid’s role in the spring high school musical: Seussical. The kid was cast as Sour Kangaroo, and she nailed it. For the initiated, the role is sort of Aretha Franklin-esque. No surprise, she also was the featured vocalist for the high school jazz band, and for this lifelong jazz musician and singer, it hit me right in the feels. Now, I know you’ll think I’m biased, but that kid has more talent in her little finger than I’ve managed to muster in 40-odd years. She’s the lead in “Annie Get Your Gun” this spring — I can’t wait!
- Cape Cod — In late spring/early summer, we spent a week in Cape Cod. A college visit in New Haven, a brief stop at Mystic, and an afternoon in Fall River to see the PT Boats (which my Grandpop served on in the Pacific in WWII) at Battleship Cove on the way up was the icing on the cake. Good food, memorable experiences, and time well spent together. How you know it was a good trip? The kid asked if we can go again this summer.
- Sauce Boss — It only took 25(?) years, but I finally saw the Sauce Boss live. The key ingredient to a Sauce Boss show, besides the blistering music, is the pot of gumbo he cooks on the stage while playing. Everyone gets to share in the goodness at the end of the night. Maybe twice a year he would come up out of Florida and play somewhere near where I was living, but for a variety of reasons I was never able to see him. An amazing player and showman, and a gracious man off the stage as well. All due respect to my significant. Most bucket list artists play arenas or large concert halls, mine plays a small bar in rural Maryland. She didn’t seem to mind.
- Golf — This year I finally managed to play golf on an almost weekly basis. I couldn’t tell you why I love golf — it is intensely frustrating, and I am not particularly good at it — but, if I get out early enough, I can play by myself, get around in an hour and 15 minutes, and be back in my office with plenty of time to get my work done for the day. I may not have improved any, but it’s therapeutic. I’ve even hooked the significant (spoiler — she’s a trash talker!)
It wasn’t all fun and games, but with some much change waiting in the wings, we made a lot of great memories. What more could I ask? I hope for the same for you and yours. Onward to 2020!