Over the weekend my clan had a small family celebration. All of our family celebrations are small, of course, owing to the lack of fecundity among its members. My parents had three widely spaced offspring, and though my sister tried gamely to keep the line going (she has four beautiful girls), my brother contributed one new branch to the family tree and my own shriveled womb is an empty vessel. Ah, well.
Anyway, it was my bro’s only child, John, whom we had gathered to fete. He is lately graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in marketing and supply chain. I don’t know what that means, but I’m pretty sure it’s more potentially lucrative than medieval literature.
Call me biased (or call me Scooter; I’d like that), but I’m inclined to pronounce my nephew a Remarkable Young Man. In defiance of his Mohror heritage of physical ineptitude (we are genetically coded to stumble over our own feet), he excelled in hockey and baseball in high school, and recently served as the manager of the College of Charleston’s Cougar hockey team. I’m not sure why a college in a city whose annual snow accumulation averages zero is into hockey, but whatev.
He followed in his Dad’s footsteps in becoming a gifted drummer, and has been playing professionally in the Charleston area while pursuing his studies.
Above all, he has been – as far as I know, at least – that rarest species of young person: a genuinely good kid. At least, we’ve never seen his name in the local paper in accounts of youthful miscreants wreaking havoc, so that’s good.
John has inherited the Mohror side’s dry wit and our tendency toward solitariness. He is something of a loner, though not in a creepy (“He always kept to himself,” said a neighbor of the man whose toilet was found clogged with body parts) way. Rather, he’s more in the mold of the Lone Ranger – his own man who goes his own way.
Admittedly, we have sometimes questioned the wisdom of his independent streak. Over his family’s horrified protestations, he spent a week at rodeo camp, though to my knowledge he’d never as much as sat on a horse before. I never got all the details of that adventure, but it’s my impression that it was one of those literally “hard knock” life lessons that builds character (and breaks bones).
My nephew’s childhood was not entirely carefree; he experienced hurts and worries that I wish he had been spared. To his credit, he has not allowed these challenges to dictate the course of his life. Instead, he has chosen his own path – and I think it’s a good one.
In a few days John will begin the next chapter of his life. He has secured a good job with a railroad in the East (though, since he apparently will NOT wear a grey-and-white-striped cap, nor befriend any hoboes, I don’t know what the hell kind of railroad this is). It’s uncertain when we’ll see him again. But wherever his life’s journey takes him, I hope he’ll know and remember that he is loved, and that we are so proud of the man he’s become.