BY SARA PALMER
Inspired by the suggestion of “radio edit.”
It was the day I was to graduate from college. I awoke to a blizzard. The city was covered in a fresh blanket of snow that seemed to pour like cotton from the clouds above. I stared out the window, watching its beauty before wondering how I was going to make the trip to the city.
At this point in my college career, I was living outside of town and commuted to class four days a week. I quickly learned from the news and radio that the roads were closed and no highway travel would be allowed. A little secret, I was kind of relieved. It wasn’t as much a dream of mine as it was my mothers to see me walk at graduation. I’ve never really been into all that formal stuff.
It wasn’t long before my mother called and asked if I had heard the news. Surprisingly, she was pretty nonchalant about it and told me to just come to her house in a few hours. “We’ll figure something out,” she said.
I took my time getting ready, watching the snow tumble down and listening to music in my room. I could hardly believe that I would never have to take another college course, if I did not want to. I felt so free and ready to tackle the world.
Then it hit me, I was going to be leaving for Arizona in two weeks. Eight months prior, my cousin had approached me with this idea of moving to Arizona. She had a friend from college that had moved there the year before and the plan was to room with her for a nine-month lease and see how it went.
At eight months out, I said no to my cousin, telling her I would stay back home for a year to save money, and that I was going to move to Northern California. Five months out, my cousin asked me again, and once again, I said no. I had my plan, but this would be a fun adventure: Nope, I had my plan. I think she could sense my hesitation, because, at three months out, my cousin asked again. This time the friend from Arizona was out to visit and we had all gone out for drinks. We got along great and had a fun night together coupled with several alcoholic beverages and my cousin’s notion that I would be over half way to Northern California and it would only be nine months, after all. This seemed to make perfect sense to me. So, that night, I withdrew my “no card” and replaced it with a yes. I was moving to Arizona.
I began packing up sweaters into giant black garbage bags and placing them in the hallway outside of my room. These were going to be donated. What would I need sweaters for in the desert? I looked outside the window again, watching the snow flow from the sky. Hard to believe I would never have to deal with that again.
I took off for my mom’s house and was met there by many relatives that lived in town. As I walked through the door, I received lots of hugs and congratulations on my graduation. I remember joking with my mom that they’d just have to take my word for it, since I couldn’t produce an actual diploma, hoping it could find me in Arizona once I moved. She seemed to snicker, as if she was up to something. Something of which I would only recognize in hindsight. She told me we were going to the country club for dinner. Ugh, I thought, formal setting. I told her we did not have to do anything fancy and that eating at the house would be fine. She reminded me that it was a special day, plus they had already made the reservations.
We got to the country club and were seated at a long table in a private room. There was a stand with a microphone a few steps back from the center of the table that I had assumed was left from a previous event earlier in the day or night before.
Suddenly, my mom got up to make a toast and out came my stepfather dressed head to toe in his academic regalia. He was formerly a dean of a university in the state I grew up in. He gave a speech and presented me with a modified diploma, entitled “Blizzard Diploma.” I still have it to this day, and I have to say best graduation remix ever.
Sara Palmer is a an improviser-writer-storyteller based in the Phoenix, Arizona, area. Share your ideas for her next blog in the comments below.