Friday, June 13, 2008


My stepdaughter Aurora (Rory), the graduate. Highest Honours in Classics, Religion and Humanities at Carleton University.

Convocation: was I there for her, or was she there for me? Probably a bit of both. My late partner Marianne had no truck with these occasions. A degree was a qualification: time to move on to the next challenge.

I'm glad we did this. Not every day a grad gets to shake Marc Garneau's hand and listen to Buffy Sainte-Marie give the convocation address after receiving a doctorate of laws, honoris causa, to add to her towering stack of credentials. (Twenty albums, an earned PhD in fine arts, a painter, an Indian rights activist....) I listened spellbound to Buffy's barnburner of a speech, given partly in spoken words and partly in song. I wished that my friend Darcey Jerrom, suffering the reawakened memories that this week has brought, had been present to hear it.

The whole occasion made me teary-eyed, I will admit. For this, Marianne might have made an exception. Rory looked beautiful. I felt indescribable pride.

She is happily married now, and expecting twins in January. But she's her mother's daughter, and won't vanish into the home never to return. "Beware of the gatekeepers who get between you and your goals," Buffy said. And, twice, "When the spotlight is on you, what will you say?"

Rory knows, in her quiet, firm way, what she wants. The future is hers. Marianne would be so proud of her. Rory can't drink these days, and her husband doesn't as a matter of faith. (Good having a Muslim in the family as our permanent designated driver.) If he isn't as proud as I am right now, I'm going over there for a chat. But first, I'm having a drink for the three of us.

To the future, dear Rory. And to you.

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