Sunday, September 19, 2010

Purple People

(Ft. Worth, TX) - While most of my known universe was converging on Baton Rouge for the LSU-Mississippi State game, my wife and I found ourselves wearing a different shade of purple.

The first chance to see our TCU freshman in her new natural environment came in the form of Family Weekend, during which the nationally-ranked Horned Frogs spanked their old rivals from Baylor. TCU scored touchdowns on its first five possessions on the way to a 45-10 win.

(Okay, under emotional stress, I default to sports writing.)

It was wonderful to see our daughter and as best we can discern from close observation, she is making the transition to college life remarkably well.

She has already developed a corps of friends, her early grades are good and she’s throwing herself into lots of organized activities. She seems to be as well-adjusted as parents could hope. I just wish I could say the same for myself. For the three days we were together, I couldn’t fight off the notion that it was temporary and once again we would be separated for weeks.
We had a terrific time as she patiently endured her parents’ presence. She showed us around campus, with special emphasis on her classes and regular hangouts. There’s an impressive sports cafĂ© on campus, where we sat for a long time and watched college football. What could make me happier?

We spent a lot of time in her dorm room, which gave us significant insight into her new lifestyle. She lives in the only all-female dorm on campus, and a steady stream of lovely young women stopped by to say hello to the parents. She was clearly comfortable, laughing easily with those around her. It’s the kind of thing that makes Mom and Dad breathe a little easier.

We dropped by a tailgate party that was hosted by some Frog fans from Shreveport, where the company was pleasant and the burgers were tasty. Ever mindful of what the “C” stands for in TCU, you might say the experience is significantly different from one you might have at a certain SEC school in south Louisiana.

While we were there, we were easy marks. A couple of expensive dinners, a pricey lunch or two and a shopping trip found their way onto the agenda. We had to make an emergency run to a western store to buy cowboy boots. It seems they are de rigueur at TCU. We tried to explain it to her in advance, but until she became fully acclimated, the magnitude of the footwear peer pressure was not fully appreciated. Now, she needs to learn to line dance/ two step or whatever it is people who wear cowboy boots to clubs do.

She said she’s excited about coming home during fall break in October. I explained that she’s just three and a half hours away and she could come home any weekend if she really wanted to. She said, “I know, but I don’t want to be the person who comes home at the drop of a hat.” (One assumes it would be a Stetson).

Unable to convince her to come visit us, we dropped her off at the dorm after church and Sunday lunch, hugged her good-bye and hit the lonesome highway home.

Our wallets were lighter when we left, but our hearts were filled. Surely that means they were a little heavy, too. We’ll be okay because she’s okay.

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