Inconclusive endings.

I don't really have it in me to write much right now, because I've just begun the week-long process of actually saying goodbye to my graduating students. I'm happy and proud that so many of the people I've watched get stronger and smarter in the past two years are moving to the next stage of their lives, and that they're ready for it, and that they'll now be on a different footing with me (getting to call me by my first name, for instance), but the trade-off is that I won't see them anymore. The Monday night seminar group came to the house for dinner, at the end of a strange, blustery and cooling day; for the first time in my teaching career, I have a souvenir group picture of a class. The few who are already done with the final paper stayed behind for one of those games of Trivial Pursuit that just won't quit: by the time we called it quits, I'd been circling the middle of the board for quite some time, never quite able to make it back for my final question, until one student finally said, "You have to win! Now!" He was late for something else. I sent them home. I don't even have it in me to write about how this process will get more poignant with each passing year--or how strange it was to sit playing a board game with people nearly a decade my junior and to want to tell them all about the first Trivial Pursuit game I played, back before any of them had been born, the one we bought at the TG&Y in our first Indiana town, and how good it was to get the junior edition (not that we knew all the questions in the turquoise box, but at least we had a fighting chance), and how I once sat up late playing Trivial Pursuit with several of my Mormon piano teacher's seven children whose names all began with J, one night when I stayed over the night before an important recital, and how that was also where I learned the prayer stance I still like best, where one simply crosses one's arms across one's body and closes one's eyes. But instead, I just played, until the game arbitrarily just stopped, and isn't that how things go, and how they will always go, because it's all so cyclical.

And now, speaking of arbitrary stoppings, I cannot upload images. Somehow, that seems fitting; none of the ones at my disposal quite catch my melange of melancholy and relief and pride and fatigue at this moment.

Except that: now that it's Friday afternoon and the pictures are uploading again, I'm happy to be able to put up one of TG&Y, which I found linked (by means of the comments section) to a page marking the downfalls of various discount stores and retail outlets. Given my penchant for crooked drive-bys, I suspect you'll be able to see why I love this one so.