Marie has graduated from high school! Graduation is like a milepost passed by along the pathway of life. Marie's graduation class started out with 13 students 12 years ago and ended with 11 students graduating. The 2012 graduation class was the smallest ever at Avon, Ill. There were 33 in my graduation class of 1982 (30 years ago). Being part of a small class makes it easier to become a scholarship recipient. Marie received several scholarships to assist her in furthering her education. The classes' future plans are grouped into thirds; 1/3 will continue their education at a university, 1/3 will attend trade school like diesel mechanic/welder/X-ray technician and 1/3 has little direction due to laziness or criminal activity.
Marie plans to pursue a career in agriculture, which is something Carol and I encourage. She has received a full tuition and book scholarship at a junior college on the east side of Illinois in exchange for her being on their livestock judging team. (Livestock judging is a competitive sport where students rank pens of livestock in order from best to worst. There are usually four animals of all meat type livestock species including goats in each pen. The "official" placing is usually determined by a couple of professors.) After attending junior college she plans to attend a major university like University of Illinois and obtain a degree in agriculture. She also won a couple of state scholarships. Marie is like Carol and I — average intelligence with above-average effort. She does present her thoughts well in speaking and writing while applying great effort to whatever she does.
Marie had a fun graduation party, which was the fruit of her and Carol's labor. I was too busy doing farm things to help out much with the party preparations that started in early March. A rented tent kept the sun off us while eating beef and drinking tea. Marie's high school ag teacher made her a cake shaped like a Hereford heifer using sugar that I had taken off an overweight railroad car, which made me very happy.
Attending Marie's party were mostly guests with an agricultural connection to Marie like neighboring farmers, people from far away who Marie met at cattle events, longtime family friends of Carol or I which are in the ag industry, and a couple of dozen family members. Our neighbor Bud (wearing maroon shirt) is a very well-respected Angus breeder in Illinois who has encouraged Marie and had a wonderful time talking about Angus cattle at Marie's party. Bud liked our new Angus cow sign on the barn. At the round table are my parents on the left and my sister in the pink shirt sitting next to her husband.
The day before the party we planted soybeans into the tan-colored rye stubble field. The day after the party we received an inch of rain. Look closely above the cab of the tractor to notice two shades of green corn. The difference in the shade of green is a hybrid difference. Or, if you do not want to look closely the obvious observation would be how green and robust the corn looks. This field is located directly across from our house and it is what I look at while drinking my morning coffee.