Sunday, June 6, 2010

Express yourself

A few weeks ago, we took a family trip to Baltimore for Son O'Mine's college commencement. We arrived on Friday afternoon and promptly headed for the Inner Harbor. My mother and sister-in-law (neither of whom had ever been to Baltimore), both avid readers, were suitably impressed with the massive Barnes & Noble standing center stage.

The first time we ever saw the Power Plant, my son commented, "Look - it's our family - ESPN Zone (Dad), Barnes & Noble (Mom) and The Hard Rock Cafe (me)!" So, each time we walk over the bridge, we always pause for a moment and admire The Holy Trinity.

After a couple hours perusing the stacks, we emerged from Book Heaven to find a parade going by on Pratt Street. Marching Bands, Dancers, a Kettle Drum group playing Michael Jackson - This parade had it all. And the folks watching were just as excited. The strange part - not one person we asked (and we asked plenty) had a clue what the parade was for.

And to most of them, it didn't really matter.

I told Son O'Mine that the parade was for him for his graduation. But he didn't buy it - I guess the days of the kid believing every fairy story Mom tells are over. Ah well, I knew it would have to end someday. So we enjoyed, we danced, we cheered and once the parade had passed, we strolled back to our Hotel. The doorman clued us in - the parade was for Preakness which was the next day. Ah ok.

Over the course of the weekend, we ate ourselves into a stupor (Acropolis in Greek Town is to die for). Then on Monday, the commencement ceremony. Now, college commencements are generally a largely formal and impressive occasion. However, MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) is still, an art school. One of the sculpture professors wore a huge (gorgeous) Native American feathered headdress. Another professor (Fibers) was dressed head to toe in hot pink and neon orange. And that was just the faculty.

The students were even more creative in their commencement ensembles. One student had an interesting suit that lit up - giving the impression he was covered in fireflies. Son O'Mine - he wore a viking helmet.

It was a bittersweet day - the kids vacillated between excitement about the future and a sadness to be leaving the MICA campus. It is perhaps the most nurturing and supportive environment that an artist can experience. In his 4 years there, we have watched our son grow and mature as a person and an artist and we are grateful to the administration and faculty of MICA.

Then, after all the fun, the hours in the car, moving 4 years of accumulated stuff back home...

We arrived home to find that the Bear also had a new outfit. A patriotic sequined hat and bowtie - and the stars and stripes speared through the heart. I expect this one will last till July 4th.

Perhaps he's just expressing himself.

Funny thing is that the Bear is simply out of place here. I know that if he were transplanted to MICA, he would be embraced fully and celebrated in his 'Bearness.'

And I'm sure he'd have much more inventive outfits.

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