As we speak, today, May 21, 2020, Enterprise High School seniors are amid commencement exercises staged in shifts due to CORVID-19 that’s made this school year, this day unique in EHS history.
That’s saying something in a history that includes the 2010 group that never had a brick and mortar school of its own, after the EHS thousands of us attended was destroyed by a monster tornado.
Every EHS commencement exercise is unique; our class of 1968’s graduation was.
Rained all day, so our coming out was moved from R.L. Bates Memorial Stadium to the auditorium, even though rain stopped an hour before we began our final walk.
Today’s young’uns, who likely don’t know Marty Robbins’ “Cap and Gown” and our class fave, The Tams’ “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” (BYBFBH), may also be unfamiliar with a group of “Richard’s” who’ve had something important to say:
Benjamin Franklin, a guy some seniors may have heard of, writing in “Poor Richard’s Almanack” advised, “speak little, do much.”
Poor Richard also wrote “a friend in need, is a friend indeed,” “experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that” and “there are three faithful friends, an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.”
Some 50 years ago, Richard Nixon said, “The American people don’t believe anything until they see it on television” and “a man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.”
More recently, billionaire Richard Branson said, “Unless you dream, nothing will happen. If you dream, you might can make your dreams come true” and “it’s amazing what doors can open if you reach out to people with a smile, friendly attitude and a desire to make a positive impact.”
Comedian Richard Pryor observed, “There’s a fine line between to laugh with and laugh at,” “what I am for is justice for everyone, just like it says in the Constitution” and “I believe the ability to think is blessed. If you can think about a situation, you can deal with it. The big struggle is to keep your head clear enough to think.”
Richard Wayne Penniman, who died May 19 at age 87 (and was buried in Huntsville yesterday), said, “A little bit of something beats a whole lot of nothing,” “… and I’d like to give my love to everybody and let them know that the grass may look greener on the other side, but believe me, it’s just as hard to cut.”
Penniman, better known as Little Richard, will have the final words today, after these observations from Richard Samet Friedman, better known as “Kinky,” who said: “Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail,” “remember: Y’all is singular. All y’all is plural. And y’all’s is plural possessive” and “when you record something, you never know who’s going to hear it.”
Kinky added for young’uns “It’s important that you know JFK is not an airport, RFK is not a stadium and Martin Luther King is not a street,” and “may the God of your choice bless you.”
Remember these thoughts if you will and don’t forget what Little Richard, “The Architect of Rock and Roll,” sang for those times when words ain’t enough, “…A-bop-bop-a-loom-op-a-lop-bop-boom …”