Monday, May 23, 2011

Guests, Degrees, Visits, Lamps

Graduation guests will arrive tomorrow afternoon, and will be with us until Friday morning, when they will depart.

The next three days will be about business—all business and nothing but business—and we have no activities scheduled for our guests except graduation activities.

We and our guests will eat dinner together tomorrow night, Wednesday night and Thursday night, but that will be the extent of our opportunities for socializing.

Wednesday and Thursday are packed with incident, morning and afternoon. It all seems a bit much. In my opinion, a single ceremonial event should suffice.

Because Joshua and I are preparing for our move back home, our guests will spend no unnecessary time in Boston. There will be no sightseeing, no touring, no exploring, no time for leisure.

All things considered, graduation from law school is an anti-climax. Because law graduates must immediately undertake preparations for bar exams, there is no respite, no sense of a milestone having been reached, no opportunity to stop and reflect upon past achievements.

Instead, there is the continued onward press of business—and the prospect of relief only once bar exam results are released.


Josh is mostly blasé about graduation. Indeed, he has been disappointed that three idle weeks have been inserted between completion of final exams and graduation events.

While Josh has been busy the last three weeks (studying for the Minnesota Bar Exam), he would much have preferred that graduation ceremonies immediately follow completion of final exams. This would have allowed us to return home sooner.

Josh is a little miffed about the prolonged schedule of graduation activities, the strict allotment of graduation tickets (very limited in number), and the choices of commencement speakers, choices that largely render the graduation ceremonies themselves an exercise in ideology, most unsuitable for a non-ideological event at an elite educational institution.

Josh’s parents, naturally, will have use of tickets to all commencement events. However, for all graduation events, only three or four tickets are allotted per graduate, depending upon event, and Josh does not know how to allot the extra one or two tickets.

I suggested that Josh divide the extra remaining tickets between his sister and brother, and allow my parents and me to sit on the grass at the edge of the various venues (which should increase the likelihood that we will not be able to hear the speeches by Alec Baldwin and The President Of Liberia, speeches in which we have utterly no interest).

Josh, however, does not want my mother to have to sit on the grass. Consequently, he wants to give my mother the third ticket to all events, and he wants to give my father the fourth ticket to events for which a fourth ticket is allotted.

We shall have to sort things out tomorrow night once our guests are in town.


Josh’s brother and sister never made it to Boston to visit us during our three years here. We had hoped they might come for a visit but, between school and their summer jobs, they were unable to make the trip.

Josh’s parents never made it to Boston, either, but we had never really expected them to come for a visit, what with the demands of Josh’s father’s trial practice.

My middle brother did not come to Boston for a visit this year. It was the first time since I was a freshman in college that he had not logged at least one annual visit to wherever I was living or studying. Last year, he had visited us twice. The previous year, he had visited us once. This year, however, planning for a visit never got off the ground.

My parents made annual visits to Boston, always coming in the fall.

Otherwise, no one accepted our invitations for visits.

And, as we leave next Wednesday, no more invitations will be forthcoming.


On Saturday night, Josh and I went downtown to attend the season-ending program presented by Boston Ballet. Works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins were performed.

We do not know when we shall have another occasion to catch Boston Ballet in action. It may be years before Josh and I return to Boston for a visit—and Boston Ballet seldom tours, so there will be no prospect of seeing Boston Ballet in the Twin Cities.

Boston Ballet is a regional company, nothing more, yet we enjoyed the opportunity to experience the work of a high-quality regional ballet company.

We probably shall miss Boston Ballet. Minneapolis is home to no major dance company, and next year we shall have to content ourselves with the dance events sponsored by the University Of Minnesota, most of which will not appeal to us.

A few weeks ago, I looked at the Northrop schedule for next season, and I recall that only a couple of items created much interest: a visit to the Twin Cities by Houston Ballet; a visit to the Twin Cities by The Royal Winnipeg Ballet; and a visit to the Twin Cities by Scottish Ballet, which will be giving rare performances of Kenneth MacMillan’s “Das Lied Von Der Erde”, a ballet I have never seen and about which I have some curiosity.


This coming weekend, we shall do our final packing and disassembling, in preparation for Tuesday’s visit from the movers.

Everything will be shipped to my older brother’s house.

When we arrived in Boston, Josh and I bought new furniture, since we decided—once we saw our new living quarters—that our tiny apartment needed all the help it could get.

On Labor Day Weekend 2008, everyone in my family visited us for a few hours, driving up from New York that Sunday—and my older brother told me that day that he liked our furniture and that he thought our living-room furniture was perfect for a den.

In response, I told him that the furniture was his if he still wanted it three years hence—and he says he still wants it.

He plans to use our living-room furniture for his den, which has been completely empty since he and my sister-in-law bought their current home. He likes our sofa, he likes our end tables, he likes our bookshelves, and he likes our complicated computer module, which allows two persons to work at two computers and which includes space for a sound system, a television and other equipment.

He insists that the ensemble is perfect for him, and perfect for his den—and he will be pleased to see that everything still looks showroom new after three years of use, as Josh and I have tended the furniture with great care.

My brother especially likes our living-room lamps—one with a royal blue base, one with a rose-colored base, and one with a cut-glass crystal base—and we have been kidding him, relentlessly, about his new-found interest in lamps, of all things.

The bedroom furniture from our Boston apartment will be placed in a guest room in my older brother’s house—and I secretly believe that he is most interested in the bedroom lamp, which has a beautiful painted Chinese base.


Josh and I will hit the road early Wednesday morning.

We do not intend to drive straight through. We intend to stop somewhere along the way, and arrive home sometime Thursday night.

My parents will have to put with us for a period, but I think that Josh and I may spend some time up at the lake house while Josh studies for his bar exams.

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