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Rick's List - Pomp and Circumstance edition

So far as I can tell from a family tree I found online, there are eight living descendants of the composer Sir Edward Elgar.

Now, you may not have all of Elgar's works in your collection, but most of us are completely familiar with Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance," the processional played at every school graduation ceremony ever as the be-robed, mortar board-topped pupils stride to the podium to accept their diplomas.

And that's why I brought up Elgar's descendants. He's dead, of course. But presumably the royalty checks continue to flow into the Elgar family coffers EVERY TIME "Pomp and Circumstance" is played. I'm not sure if you can envision what that means, but let's just say Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are droolingly jealous.

My point is that, thanks to a few extra snow days, we're finally getting ready for graduation to roll around — and that means more residuals for the Elgar kiddos!

So let us queue "Pomp and Circumstance." Because, in honor of ye graduates — and in lieu of the list of inanities that normally occupies this space — I'm going to offer up a brief excerpt from Robert McCammon's "Boys Life," one of the finest coming-of-age books ever written. There's no reason why this shouldn't resonate with the young — for whom Time is best quantified as an established deadline beyond which your parents have forbidden you to be out (and as such is to be blithely ignored), as well as for the middle-aged and senior citizens, for whom Time is a spooky and slowing-gaining endurance runner whose measured breaths of exertion are increasingly redolent of sour-sweet rotting flowers and crematorium ash.

Wrote McCammon, in the voice of Mrs. Neville, an older and disconcertingly wistful teacher offering last-day-of-classes wisdom to Cory, a 12-year-old student for whom she has high hopes and might not see again:

"'Cory, I want to say one thing to you. Remember.'

"'Remember? Remember what?'

"'Everything,' she said. 'And anything. Don't you go through a day without remembering something of it and tucking that memory away like a treasure. Because it is. And memories are sweet doors, Cory. They're teachers and friends and disciplinarians. When you look at something, don't just look. See it. Really, really see it. It's easy to walk through life deaf, dumb and blind, Cory. Most everybody you know or ever meet will. They'll walk through a parade of wonders, and they'll never hear a peep of it. But you can live a thousand lifetimes if you want to.'"

Mrs. Neville also shared with Cory what she called "a secret," and I hope — I believe — it's true. "No one ever grows up."


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