On Friday, Bill and I left our Mesa home for the first leg of our trip back to Denver for the summer and fall. We made it as far as Flagstaff — a mere two hours or so from Phoenix — before we dropped anchor. It was not an unexpected stop. We had planned to watch our niece Jessie show off her stuff as she and her team presented her Capstone project.
You see, this little bit of a young woman who probably weighs 95 pounds soaking wet and looks no older than 16, is set to walk across the stage of Northern Arizona University and receive her diploma in Environmental Engineering in a couple of weeks.
Whaaaaat? It was only yesterday that I changed her diapers, wasn’t it? That’s the way time flies.
The truth of the matter is that if any of us had given it any thought, we would have figured out when she was 3 that she would take an unexpected path, namely choosing a career in a field where men still dominate. Of all of Mom’s granddaughters, Jessika Kristine (who I’m proud to say is named after me and wears it well) might be the most like Mom. Small, but mighty. Doesn’t take a lot of crap from others and can give it right back. Pretty as can be and funny as hell. Like Mom.
Many years ago, back when Jess was maybe in elementary school, she accompanied her three aunties on a hike on Superstition Mountain. Both she and her sister Kacy were in a hiking club and Jess wanted to show us her stuff. She led the way and Bec, Jen, and I followed her like good soldiers. We had been hiking for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, when she turned to us and said sternly, “Now don’t wait until you’re tired to tell me you want to turn around because that will be way too late.” I believe that might have been the same hike when, after having opened several cattle gates for us, she said, “You guys could take a turn on opening these gates, you know.”
Aye aye, Captain. Those words could have been coming from Mom’s own mouth.
So she, along with three fellow engineering graduates, got up in front of 40 or so people and made their presentation on the feasibility of using paper pulp with a polymer as a substitution for clay in a particular landfill near Flagstaff. See? What did I tell you? She’s really smart. The funny thing was that nearly a quarter of the audience consisted of Jessie’s family. Oh, there were some of her professors who asked questions and will give her a grade, but for the most part it was just us, who know almost nothing about well, all of those things I mentioned above (except for Bill, who actually understood the entire presentation,or at least says he did). But, despite the fact that we are not engineers, we do know how to love each other and provide support. It was all we could do to refrain from giving her a standing ovation at the conclusion of the presentation. She deserved it, but it might have been just a tad too much.
Here is a photo of our family following the presentation (minus two who needed to leave before the photo was shot)….
Being a Gloor, Jessie well understood the need to follow such an activity with a meal and something with which to toast her. We all trekked to downtown Flagstaff where we went to Bigfoot Barbecue, a restaurant with one of the oddest locations I’ve ever seen. It was in the basement of a building housing other restaurants, but in order to reach it, you had to go downstairs and then walk through a clothing store. But the BBQ was quite yummy.
The only problem with the barbecue restaurant was, well, no martinis. Bec and I were trying to figure out a way to work a martini into our day. Jess kept assuring us we were going to go to this really cool coffee place later, and she kept mentioning drinking a whiskey and chai. My brother suggested ordering a gin and chai, and asking them to “hold” the chai. As it turned out, that was unnecessary. I should have had more confidence in my very smart niece, who knows more than simply about landfills. The place was awesome. Yes, there was coffee (and apparently chai), but there was a very cool bar that offered martinis as part of their beverage choices. Crisis averted.
Here are a couple of pictures of the family enjoying the After Capstone Festivities….
Now I just want to wait for the day that she walks into a room full of burly offshore oil riggers and tells them she’s their new boss. Holy smokes! I put my money on Jess.
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