Graduation preparation

Farm Forum

Once every month in the Navy we turned to for what the brass called a “field day.”

It took place even more often if some sagging-jowled admiral all breast-plated with campaign ribbons happened to be out on an inspection hustings.

What all of us swabbies did during “field day” was to begin at the overhead light fixtures and work down to the deck, scrubbing and scraping every square inch of everything in between the “overhead” and the “deck,” which would be the bulkheads, or the walls.

I suspect that many of you men out there with daughters graduating from high school will be or have been recently the “swabbies” involved in a field day at your little ship of state, with the orders being given by your aproned commander.

I can tell you that you’ll be absolutely amazed at what graduation “field day” at your house will entail.

When our daughter was a sophomore my commander in chief started her “to do” list. She revised it periodically before chiseling it in stone during our daughter’s senior year. The list is now in the National Archives, I’m told, so I’ll have to work from memory.

One of the most difficult assignments was painting the inside of our furnace… light blue as I recall. Scrunching through the heat ducts with a damp dust rag wasn’t all that easy, either.

I was disappointed on the day of the graduation party that no one even asked to see the inside of our furnace.

I had to clean the lampshades and install new light bulbs in them. The shades were cleaned, just in case someone at the party got too far into their cups and decided to go for laughs.

I was able to finish roof re-shingling in about a week. Another early-spring assignment was to call the grocery store to insure that an adequate supply of pork, beef and chickens would be available from area packing houses for the graduation lunch order that my wife planned to place.

I had to mow our lawn every other day for two weeks prior to graduation, and the day before the event I was instructed to mow all of the neighbors’ lawns, too.

A difficult assignment was to take our dog out and convince it to roll around in a bed of mint plants so that it would smell good at the afternoon party.

Unfortunately, it didn’t catch on to the rolling business, so I had to demonstrate. I remember at graduation several ladies asked me what kind of after shave lotion I used. Curiously, there were lots of empty seats all around me.

There were the usual “field day” tasks like refolding all of the towels, arranging books on the shelves in alphabetical order, clearing out five-year-old freezer-burned goose meat from the basement freezer, straightening a crooked tree, fishing out the hollow carcasses of long-deceased wasps and flies in the window sills, filling gopher holes in the back yard and installing a muffler on our garbage disposal.

I remember that I was so tired after all of this that I fell asleep during the graduation party. But with that lampshade over my head, I doubt if anyone noticed that my eyes were closed.

If you’d like to make a comment, e-mail the author at