[dropcap]F[/dropcap]reeport Highschool’s graduation was last night. Jamie attended to support her students. And I attended to support Jamie. I wore khakis. So did almost every other male over the age of thirty. The ceremony was on the football field. Beside me sat an elderly woman, too old to be on her feet for long. She and I couldn’t see anything from our place in back.
“Did you hear that?” she asked. “They just announced my baby’s name. Kyle.”
“That’s your baby?”
She grinned her three teeth at me. “That’s him.”
The truth was, she had lots of babies. She had five children, fourteen grandchildren, and a kitchen busier than Grand Central Station. She assured me she was proud of each baby. But Kyle was special. She couldn’t hide it. Kyle was the first of the entire family to graduate high school.
“None of us is smart,” she explained. “I can’t hardly read. So I did the best I could, I worked real hard. That’s what dumb mommas do.”
Only someone brilliant could make a comment that ridiculous.
“Kyle’s going into the Army tomorrow.” She pointed to her grandson. “He wants my banana pudding before he goes.”
The lucky dog.
“Lord,” she said. “That youngun loves food. But you’d never know it, look how skinny he is.”
When the music played, I helped her clap for Kyle. She applauded with stiff brittle hands, then dabbed her eyes with a hankie. Kyle’s face was the brightest in all Freeport.
Except for one old face in the back.