I have always been sort of a kid at heart. Growing old has only increased the distance of years, but the memories of the actions remain fresh in my mind. Certain things we feel as a child become embedded in our core. The time spent moving away from our youth might clutter the hallways with a vast experience, but the taste of our childhood often lingers on the tips of our tongues.
This next segment brings back so many different memories for me. Not only the memories of the moment, but the experiences of a child with eyes as big as the starry filled skies.
Ok. Scattered brain tangent acquisition complete. Present task frame re-engaged.
Current journal excerpt initiated.
I walked up to the graduation podium that morning feeling like I was skipping along a cloud. It felt a little strange to be able to hear the people in the room, but not to be able to see them.
I made it up to the microphone and spoke about a scared guy that had just become blind, and had come to this place in Newton Mass to try and figure out how to live as a blind man. I was nervous and my voice was shaky and cracking. I felt just like I did in grade school when I had to go up in front of the class to read a book report. I suppose that by not being able to see the audience, it did relieve me of a lot of my inhibitions. My anxiety levels were not as combustuous as they usually were.
I thanked the center instructors, and the staff, and the other students for being there for me. I told of friendships that had been built on hope and faith and drive and determination. A truer foundation for friendship had never been seen by me.
As I ended my words of thanks and praise, I started back to my seat as the audience applauded me, as they had done with the others.
Mike got back on the microphone and told me to turn around and come back to the podium. I was a little surprised and figured that he had a story about the chicken coop that I had helped with.
It wasn’t about the chicken coop.
I turned and walked back to the podium and stood beside Mike. He asked one of the staff to go over to the table where the shop projects were. He told them to bring mine over to the podium. He took it from the staff member, and handed it to me. “Mr. Lyons,” he said, “I would like you to tell everyone the story of this little toy truck.”
I was surprised as hell and wondered why he had picked mine as the only one to be highlighted. I felt very strange, but I also felt very good.
I took the truck from him, and proceeded to tell of the story of a little boy that had told his grandmother of a present that he wanted for Christmas. The audience was hushed as I spoke of the truck and the trials of building it, and of a wonderful shop instructor that made it all happen.
It was a wonderful experience to be able to tell the story. It was a simple story of love and determination and passion and drive and hope and family and faith. It was a simple story from the heart, and as I told it, I got a peaceful feeling deep inside of me. It was one of the best feelings I have ever felt. The whole while I was telling the story, I got flashes of Lynne and Jack rushing through my head. I knew that Matt was filming the speech, and I smiled knowing that he was only a few feet away. Man was it good to have him there. He made the whole day complete.
I ended the story with a tear in my eye as mike grabbed my arm and squeezed it tightly. “Thank you.” He whispered to me in my ear. I returned to my seat with the truck still in my clutches. The room applauded, and after the last person went to the podium, I was swarmed with people from the auditorium wanting to take pictures with me and my grandson’s truck. It was a strangely wonderful feeling.
There were a lot of pictures taken after the ceremonies, teachers with students, students with parents and loved ones. I was asked by Heather to take a picture with her and fellow student Brandon Eiffel. I was glad to. I had grown quite fond of Heather. Some of the other students didn’t care for her. I think it was just her demeanor, but I was able to see through all of that, and I feel that I was really able to get to know her as a person. She always had praise for me and continually told me that I was way too hard on myself. I know this, and continue to be. It is a trait handed down to me by my father. I strive to reach a level of praise according to what I feel his standards were, and are.
I did wonder why my project was selected out of everyone else’s to showcase at the ceremony. I was told later on that it was because my story was something that everyone could relate to. It was so heart warming and simple and full of a Childs vision of what Christmas means. I felt proud and so lucky to have the family that I do. Every time I think of Jack, I smile. It isn’t just a surface smile, but a smile from deep within my soul. It’s a smile that will be with me for the rest of my life.
To be continued…