I#039;ve watched them all grow up now

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2004

I went out to eat Monday night at Buffalo's American Grille, a nice little place on Hwy. 231 in Troy, as they have a special on Monday nights with 25-cent chicken wings. They also have their own special sauces, ranging from mild to "nuclear."

The last time I went prior to this week, I hurt myself by trying the nuclear sauce…I ordinarily like hot spicy foods, but it was a bit much, if you know what I mean.

But being in a college town, naturally there will be college students in restaurants. But the college students actually look so much younger now, then when I was a teenager delivering pizza and italian foods to the dormitories on the campus of my hometown's Fairleigh Dickerson University.

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The students at FDU were my age when I was delivering to their frat and dorm parties, but it is not that way anymore.

It is this that caused me a tremendous realization.

In the three-plus years that I have been at the Luverne Journal, I have actually watched many children grow up.

This coming year's senior class was just beginning to learn the ropes of high school as freshmen when I started over here in Crenshaw County. I have seen and published the stellar accomplishments of so many talented young students, ranging from academics to athletics, and have seen the pageants, the stage productions, and the basic "ups and downs" of all four Crenshaw County schools.

But you know what the hardest thing to accept is? My eldest daughter, Jessica, is a this year going to be a senior! Yep, I took 48 pictures of her before she left to go to her junior prom this spring. Next year at this time, she and her peers may very well be

those college students in a restaurant that I notice while eating.

Here's another scary thought. My baby, Elizabeth, who recently turned 14, is going to be one of those freshmen in her district's high school this year.

I can remember when I was a freshman, and how scared I was. Leaving junior high school a "big shark" in the "little pool," I soon realized that at the high school, I was just a little guppy in a big ocean.

Elizabeth right now has some of those same fears, as I am sure every freshman does. But they will soon realize that high school is not such a bad place. Some of my life's best memories came from the old Alma Mater, and their's will as well.

We should all realize that our children are growing up, in spite of our greatest wishes, and give them all the love and guidance that we possibly could give them, while they are still at home, because face it, we are not getting any younger, but neither are they. They will be gone before we know it, to explore the world on their own, hopefully armed with good skills taught to them from home and school.

Until next week, if you need to find me, I'll be the balding one way out there, out in Deep Left Field.

George Wacha is the managing editor of The Luverne Journal and The Lowndes Signal. He may be reached by e-mail at george.wacha@luvernejournal.com.