“How could I possibly be so lucky?” Those are the words that come to mind as I ponder this last summer article of mine, an impossible challenge. My mission, as I have chosen to accept it, is to think of one last defining event that shaped my freshman year of college. There is nothing so charmingly distressing as the realization that you must somehow tailor a year’s worth of blessings into a “Top 3.”
That said, I will spare you the odd combination of moans and giggles that befall one such as I when I realize my oxymoronic world. Oh no, I have too many stories to tell! I hereby wish you a similar trial.
With more than a little bit of cheerful angst, I have picked a last event. I will preface by adding that, of course, I have once again broken the rules. My first event was not an event; it was a person. My irreplaceable roommate, however, deserved a written testament to her enlightening impact on my year and myself as a person. She made me braver. Second, I again chose to mention not a singular event but a series of small events – little personal fireworks going off every so often in the form of care packages. The delivery of those parcels eroded the idea of “distance” that had made me fear isolation.
This third topic is much like the latter of those two: an event that occurred so many times that it weaves a constant thread of reassurance through the fabric of my year. You could call it a ritual, you could call it a budding tradition. Either way, Tuesday found me parked in many different places but with the same reliably wonderful company each night.
Mathew Croyle and Alisha Lutz, how can I thank you enough? For those who don’t know, these two complete my outpost of All Ohio Youth Choir spirit on my college’s territory. Familiarity made them absolutely indispensable in the first few weeks. Out of a spontaneous Youth Choir dinner rendezvous was born a weekly tradition. Sometimes the plans became a victim of overbooked schedules or were postponed until the soggy grey skies of Kent’s winter abated. But, from that day forth, Tuesdays were a special occasion.
Every Tuesday was a Terrific Tuesday. For an hour or two I was able to sit down and talk eye-to-eye to a pair of people who saw the world as I did. Full of potential, full of music, full of unspoken but vital reasons to speak the words “I love you” via hugs. For a girl who has long identified herself as a hugger and a cuddler, these things were crucial. That’s not to say that other people didn’t exist in my college sphere who gave me beautiful memories and wonderful conversations! Of course there were. But, on Tuesdays, I knew exactly where I could find them.
Throughout this déjà vu summer of re-learning what it is to be home with things that once again brim with 19 years of familiarity, I have learned never to take such things for granted. For as long as time continues to move in only one steady direction, new phases of life and the increasingly unfamiliar strains of people, experiences and places that come with them will continue to test my acceptance of change. But, in the present and future, I hope to remain aware and thankful for things like Tuesday nights, which assure me that our past follows us through for the remainder of our days.
Three cheers, then, to the familiar! To old converse that still hug feet with years of grass-stains. Three cheers to a pair of dogs that only ever seem to age by the gray hairs on their chins, but never by spirit. Cheers to the goofy family moments and tickle fights that make me ask if I’m 12 years old all over again.
Cheers to Tuesday, that oasis of all things wonderful. Without that finish line to my week, I don’t know that I would have been able to pull myself through quite so intact. With a full crew of Youth Choir members joining us on campus as incoming freshman, I know that our ranks will grow. Who knows? The Tuesday dinner table might end up expanding too.