Early this morning I left the Roost, grabbed a breakfast sandwich at a drive-thru, and slipped down into Arkansas for a drive over to my sister's place in Fayetteville. The objective of the trip was to watch my nephew, Reed Smith, graduate with a teaching degree from the University of Arkansas - woo, pig, suey!
Reed is graduating with honors and will have a seat on the stage at the ceremony.
Reed has a degree in agriculture from Oklahoma State University, and he worked for several years as a meat distributor for the big hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. He had been home over Christmas week in 2009 to attend my father's (his grandfather's) funeral and was returning to Vegas when he was involved in an horrendous car wreck in Texas - a wreck which killed Reed's father, Bob Smith. Reed was life-flighted to Amarillo where he underwent major surgery and spent a couple of weeks in a coma. It was an extremely traumatic time for the whole family - including his many friends from high school and college - who all rushed to Amarillo to be with Reed.
Reed's girlfriend, Jamie, was also a passenger in the wreck. Jamie was (is) a school teacher, and they were eventually married. Being a former star high school athlete - and married to a teacher - Reed decided that he wanted to leave the world of commerce and work in a field that he loved - school athletics. He returned to college for a teaching credential and to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a coach.
And know this, world - he will be a great one!
Congratulations, Reed, for having the courage and tenacity to pursue what you love! The youth of America have just scored a big win!
(Follow-up Footnote on Footwear: Reed wore a pair of boots to graduation that had belonged to his father. Bob Smith would have been very proud!)