Graduation! Once again, on The Lawn…

Graduation! Once again, on The Lawn…

Today, I went to UVA’s graduation for the Class of 2024, which included my
granddaughter, Georgina.

Of course, I went. But when I woke up this morning and saw that it was raining, I
thought about skipping the part at “The Lawn.” The forecast was for rain to
continue all day. Well, it did continue, but I went anyway.

Two of my other grandchildren had spent the night at my house, and we all
went out to dinner with the graduate and her parents on Friday night. It was fun to see them in a small group and really have a chance to talk. Later, after dinner, Elias and I sat out on my terrace and talked until Delilah came home from a party she went to with her sister and some of her friends who were graduating. 
We went to bed early, so I missed it, but Elias said he heard the rain pouring
down in torrents during the night. This morning, it was so green and lush
outside that my freshly mown grass appeared to have grown a week’s worth in a day or two.
We did not plan well. There was no way to get the graduation site and find where to park our car in
time. So, I called my son Robert and asked if he could drive us down to the Rotunda and drop us off. “Sure,” he said, “When do you want to go?” And I answered, “In five minutes.”


He drove us down there, and Robert let us off at the Rotunda. It was drizzling rain, and the crowd
was intense, but we were all going in the same direction, so we kept moving
forward, slowly. We tried to buy flowers for Georgina. Delilah had her credit card
with her, but the Wi-Fi signal was poor, so we were not successful. Delilah had a
credit card and her driver’s license in a plastic baggie, while I was carrying only
my phone. We were not allowed to carry purses unless they were small and
“see-through.”


When we got to the “ticket takers,” I suddenly realized that Georgina had not
texted me a ticket as we had planned the night before. I was afraid I would be
turned back. However, I was not the only one with no ticket. The ticket table
people were extremely kind and helpful. In the end, we resolved that, and I had
a ticket. We passed through the metal detector and knew we were nearing the
area where the graduates would be sitting. We could hear that the music had

changed to a graduation march. We knew we must hurry, but we thought we were on the wrong side of “The Lawn” and would have to cross over. Instead, we found ourselves stopped by the crowd at a fence that prevented us from going farther, and the graduates were filing past the fence.

There were approximately 3,000 grads this year. The chances of us seeing
anything were slim. We believed we were on the wrong side from where
Georgina would be coming. We were far enough back that we could really only
see the flat caps of the students heading for their seats. But we could see their
balloons. At least, we saw some of them. The rain was keeping the helium
balloons low, and only the really large ones soared.

We knew that Georgina was carrying a balloon that looked like a dachshund, as
well as a couple of others fashioned like ice cream cones or cupcakes. We were
not sure about the others, but we KNEW she had the dachshund. So, we looked
for that as the students filed past. We could see only a little because we were so
far back from the fence where they passed. However, as the families in front of
us saw their loved ones, they waved, cheered, called their names, took photos,
and then left to go another way to find their seats.

As a result, we got to stand closer and closer to the fence and had a better view.
Sometimes, we could see the faces of the students rather than just their
balloons. I think a thousand or more, maybe two thousand, had passed by then. 
We were getting tired of standing there.

Suddenly, I saw a dachshund balloon. It was not high in the air; it was carried
lower. Could that be Georgina? I didn’t know. It seemed futile to even mention it
out loud because what were the chances? “Delilah! I see a dachshund!” I
exclaimed. At that moment, I caught a glimpse of Georgina’s face as she passed

where we stood, about two rows back. Delilah and I both yelled her name as
loud as we could. And she turned towards us! She turned back and saw us and
waved, smiling broadly Somehow, I managed to get my phone up and take a
still photo of Georgina. Two of them and so we had proof that we saw her!
Delilah took a short video of this! It was such fun to get that close view. We could
never have seen her so well if we had been in our seats. I feel that some divine
intervention from a dead relative or a guardian angel arranged for us to be in the
“right place at the right time” to see Georgina. We were so pleased with
ourselves that we did not mind how soaked we were.
The ordeal was not over, though. We slogged back along the inside of The Lawn
by the students’ rooms because that way was under cover and drier. When we
had to walk on the grass, it was trampled and muddy—deep mud of Virginia red
clay. We crossed the lawn near the Rotunda and found seats on that side. We
never did find Lilla and Chris, my daughter and son-in-law, who are Georgina’s
parents (and Delilah’s). We found chairs to sit in for the rest of the graduation
exercise, which was mercifully short.

Even before the entire ceremony was over, however, we slogged out of there,
trying to reach an Uber. No luck. I texted Robert, and he was downtown and
available to pick us up. Another miracle. He arrived soon after. We took Delilah
to meet her parents at the UVA Chapel. They had another graduation to attend for Georgina, which was small and indoors.
Then Robert drove me home, just in time to rearrange my hair, take off my
muddy shoes, and put on my lipstick.

I had to drive immediately to Farmington, where my granddaughter, Grace, was being given a wedding shower by her future mother-in-law. I made it just in time, but that is another story!

Copyright©. 2024 Bonnie B. Matheson

2 thoughts on “Graduation! Once again, on The Lawn…

  1. Had basically the same experience at my granddaughter Izzy’s graduation from
    Gettysburg College. However, there were only 800 graduates not the thousands.

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