About two weeks ago, we had a special occasion to travel to that "school up north,"?as former Ohio State University coach Woody Hayes would call the University of Michigan. That occasion was the senior music recital for grandson Patrick Carter. This recital is a requirement for the bachelor of music degree.
Patrick, with the help of his professor, selected the music he wanted to play. He also recruited some of his friends from the School of Music to accompany him for some of the special music. His instrument is the oboe, and he has the talent to get a lot of music out of that oboe. He has a lot of natural music ability plus a commitment to hard work.
In many ways, we were lucky over the weekend. For the entire trip we had sunshine and temperatures that approached 70 degrees. Couldn't ask for anything better.
My daughter Jill and son-in-law Kevin, along with Kevin's father, Dwayne Carter, drove out to Ohio from Bel Air, Md. They were with us Friday night, and we drove on to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday.
It was a football weekend at the University of Michigan, and they are avid football fans, as we are here for the Ohio State University football team. Unfortunately for Michigan, they lost to Purdue that weekend. So we were careful not to say too much about being Ohio State fans. Tomorrow's game between the two teams will be an interesting one, as all Ohio State-Michigan games tend to be.
Since it was a football weekend, there were no hotel rooms available in Ann Arbor. We had to make reservations in Brighton, about 20 miles north of Ann Arbor. Our travels were at different times than the beginning and end of the football game so we didn't have to deal with much heavy traffic.
Patrick's sister Molly flew out from Boston, where she is in law school at Boston University. His aunt Joy Parker flew down from Minneapolis, so we all were there to support him on this special occasion as well as enjoy the music and his abilities.
Following the recital, we had a reception with food for those attending. A host of Patrick's friends, along with School of Music faculty, were present. It was a great time to visit, meet his friends and teacher and enjoy the evening. One of the first couples we met had lived in Jefferson, Ohio, back in the early 1960s.
Patrick had DVDs made for us so we can enjoy the performance as many times as we like. Anyone with grandchildren or great-grandchildren can relate to the pleasant experiences of watching them be involved in special occasions, be they music, sports, academic or other opportunities they have.
Many of you can probably relate special to times with grandchildren. They are important to all of us, especially as we grow older and have fewer chances to be with our families.
Now we look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving next week. While we know these are tough times for many families, let us be thankful for the many things we do enjoy in this country of ours. We pray for those who can't find a job and are concerned about the future. We need to do what we can to help each other in these difficult times.
Let's continue to be thankful for the abundant, safe food supply we have and will be able to enjoy next week. And let's enjoy each other as we get together for family dinners or with friends for the holiday.
Yes, we are thankful also for the trip to the University of Michigan to enjoy grandson Patrick.
Parker is retired from The Ohio State University and is an independent writer for the Tribune.