The Girl, The Three Tenors make Class of 2010 specialFour score and a few years back, I was entrusted with the upbringing of a coltish 14-year old girl.
The ex-cheerleader thought at first that we didn’t get along because we never spoke, not realizing that unlike her, we are both introverts and don’t mind going a couple of minutes without talking.
The Girl and I have decided to leave that part of our lives up to the ex-cheerleader. She has enough to say for three people.
We first bonded through the most obscure of subjects— Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
While our generations are three decades apart and Holy Grail came out in 1974, the Pythons have cultivated a whole new generation of fans— and deservedly so.
I could repeat most of the lines in this hilarious film, she could repeat all of them—verbatim.
I also found a soul mate in visiting one of my favorite hangouts, Half Price Books. Like me, she doesn’t mind spending hour-upon-hour in the used book mecca, which the ex-cheerleader doesn’t understand because there are no shoes or purses section— only books about shoes and purses.
I have bought her a library of books and I’m pretty sure she has read every one of them.
Another area that I have been exposed to is academia.
It may come as a shock to some, but I was not involved in the National Honor Society or band in high school.
The closest I ever came to being in the band was when we used to go watch then-band director Don Theode lead summer practices at the football field. Hey, that’s where all the girls were.
Through her, I discovered how hard director Joe Ray and those band kids work and how little recognition or praise they receive for the tireless hours they put in—equal to or maybe surpassing the football team.
Because of her love for art, I purchased her a Salvador Dali painting—much to the horror of her mother. It was one of Dali’s more subdued offerings, with just three semi-nude people and a man breaking out of an egg shaped world, titled “Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man.”
Get the picture?
Because the ex-cheerleader could not go without punching a hole in the floorboard or screeching at the top of her lungs—“That’s a stop sign right there—STOP!!!”— I happily taught The Girl how to drive.
Unlike her previous instructor, I allowed her to learn from her mistakes (which were few). When she passed her test, I was surprisingly proud.
It will be hard to pass by the junior high parking lot and not think of practicing parallel parking.
By the way, when’s the last time you parallel parked? A show of hands, please.
Three for the road
It would be impossible to write about The Girl without mentioning her partners in crime, Ally Ibarra and Corolyn Holub, who we consider members of the family.
The ex-cheerleader and I have carted the trio all over the state of Texas on various excursions such as press conventions, birthday trips and educational venues.
I tried to come up with some clever monicker for the girls, like “The Three Mouseketeers” or “The Three Amigos,” but all seemed too pedestrian for such unique personalities.
Maybe “The Three Tenors?” That’s fairly random.
I learned pretty quickly that these girls may seem slight and demur, but they can cut you up like a Beni-Hana chef and leave you limp and destitute with their sharp witted tongues.
And, their outward appearance might lend you to believe that they enjoy listening to the latest American Idol winner or the Dave Matthews band.
These girls like it heavy.
Many a time I have glanced in my rear view mirror and witnessed a flurry of hair, whipping back and forth to the beat of Evanescence or the latest metal masters.
At our church’s youth retreat, I stood witness to the most elaborate snipe hunt in the history of the sport.
At one point, Kennedy was viciously attacked and bitten by a Wampus Bat where her wounds could only be healed by the rare Wampus Bat serum, which some young girl was dispatched to find.
Watching them grow from little girls into young women was an enlightening experience.
Witnessing their first time walking in high heels was like watching a highwire artist try to navigate a tightrope 100 feet in the air—without a pole.
Seeing them driving a car is surreal and my initial reaction is to run and jump in the bushes. (Just kidding.)
And of course, there is the Renaissance Festival, which has become a regular part of our lives as much as Christmas and something the ex-cheerleader and I look forward to as much as the girls.
To see the effort they put into their costumes is inspiring.
Of course as soon as we get there, they disappear and we don’t see them for hours... until they get hungry... or need money.
Ally insisted on making us play “Who’s Line Is It Anyway” on the way home.
I’ll never forget the Pakistani woman trying to explain to us where the theater was when we were going to see the play Spamalot in Dallas.
“It’s on Mic-Nee.” “Where?”
She was trying to say McKinney, while The Girl and Ally rolled in the back seat.
After all three finished in the Top 10 of their graduating class, they are heading to different parts of the country to change the world in their own way.
The Girl and Cor will continue their artistry at Savannah College of Art and Design and the University Of Texas, respectively, while Ally is going to march in the Aggie Band and study chemical engineering.
Cor is breaking away from the family tradition of going to Texas A&M to attend UT. The madness had to stop sometime.
I told her father Gene to just re-form his check writing fingers into the hook ‘em horn sign.
Along with the Holubs who hosted, we threw the girls a graduation party on Monday where Monty Python was roundly discussed and dissected.
They spent the night together— one last slumber party.
We will miss these delightful, intelligent and hilariously funny girls and have made them promise they will visit when they are in town. The ex-cheerleader demands it for her own sanity while her own daughter is in a far away land called Georgia.
After we drop The Girl off in Savannah in September and I drop her mother off at the nervous hospital in Austin for a couple of weeks for a little “vacation”, we will come home to a empty house.
An empty house with an empty room that may have to be cleaned by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The only negative thing I can come up with in our time together is that she owes me big time for making me watch the movie V For Vendetta. That’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.
I am amazed by her talent and respect her work ethic. We got her a booth at Pecan Street Festival in Austin last month and she was undoubtedly the youngest one out there.
Watching her interact with the other artists and the people who purchased her art, she was in her element. She belonged there.
While I have tried to be a positive and supportive influence in her life, my greatest wish—above anything else— is that she doesn’t think I’m a big dork.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson