The first time I laid eyes on my daughter was a chilly morning 18 years ago when Dr. John Slocumb held her up, turned her small six-pound body in my direction and let me be the first to see that our newborn baby was a girl. I said it out loud, “It is a girl.”
Because my wife, Dawn and I wanted to be surprised about the baby’s gender, we never requested the nurses and/or technicians presiding over sonograms in Dr. Slocumb’s obstetrics and gynecology office to advise us the sex.
All through the night of March 17, 1994, the staff on duty in Labor and Delivery at the Medical Center monitored the baby’s heart rate and, based on statistics, predicted a little boy was on the way.
Early the next morning, our choice for attending nurse, Barb Stickel, arrived and agreed that a fast heart rate generally indicated a male baby. Two hours later our little girl, Morgan, surprised everyone involved with the delivery. She has been surprising me ever since.
As of this weekend, high school graduation weekend, I officially join the chorus of parents inquiring as to where the days have gone. When I reach back in my mind I realize there has been a lot of living sandwiched in between the two occasions.
Only yesterday I was getting little feet fitted for dancing shoes, soccer and softball cleats. Then came braces on her teeth, basketball uniforms and guitar lessons. This past Friday evening, I captured mental notes from Morgan’s commencement observances and all the while wondered who hit the fast forward mechanism on life.
As the pleasure of the moment played out, as if in slow motion, I considered counsel and philosophy that I had shared with her on a number of occasions. I thought how I would love to let all the “tassel movers” hear about my beliefs regarding screw turning.
Let me explain. I received the book, “After the Tassel Is Moved,” by Louis Caldwell when I graduated high school, 33 years ago. I refer to this guideline for seniors even to this day.
One of my favorite chapters, “How Far to Turn the Screw” explains the following story about know-how. A computer broke down and all the geniuses on the office staff tried to repair it. After their unsuccessful efforts, an expert was called in. He turned the machine on and listened to it for a few minutes. Then he took out a screwdriver and turned one screw a half turn and, just like that, the machine was repaired.
When the company received a bill for $175 at the end of the month, the office manager went into a rage. He asked for an itemized statement and explained exactly what the expert had done.
A few days later, the company received the itemized statement that read: “For turning one screw; 15 cents; for knowing how far to turn the screw: $174.85.”
Caldwell points out, there is no substitute for practical know-how and that the person who knows “how far to turn the screw” always finds opportunities.
As Morgan prepares to leave for college and study nursing, I have reminded her that a heart for sick and suffering people is not enough, it will take hours of study, development of excellence and sacrifice to meet the needed medical training and requirements.
Friday night’s graduation ceremonies progressed to the syncopated rhythm of roll call. The names started rolling from the lips of the emcee. Morgan was number 14 on a list of 108 members in the Class of 2012 from Mount de Sales Academy.
I heard her name distinctly annunciated, Morgan Nicole Burgamy.
Wait a minute, who is that lady walking across the Macon City Auditorium stage?
Briefly, for a hazy moment, wet eyes and proud memories of yesteryear made me forget that the beautiful young woman wearing a white cap and matching gown, with a gold tassel was indeed my little girl.
Kenny Burgamy serves as a marketing consultant and is co-host of the Kenny B. Charles E., TV, radio and Internet program and is a marketing consultant for NewTown Macon.