Lesson Learned “Homecoming celebrations”


Even Homecoming celebrations create lessons learned. This year’s Buckhannon-Upshur High School Homecoming inspired me to study the innocent faces looking back at me through the newspaper photos and Facebook posts. “It’s déjà vu all over again,” one of Yogi Berra’s most memorable “Yogi-isms,” aptly applies. Yogi Berra was the king of creatively mangling the English language into quotable, witty truths.

For starters, I remember Homecoming 1964 when Cheri Ellis reigned as Queen. Now in our mountain community she still serves a grand example of dignity through her role as caring daughter for her parents, outstanding mother and grandmother for her children and grandchildren, and successful business person. To see her life lived well from being a queen then until now is a déjà vu experience.

Later in the life of our Buckhannon-Upshur High School, the student body elected Ann Trainer as Homecoming Queen in 1984. Capable of establishing trust then, now she continues as a trusted State Farm Insurance Representative—not to forget the Trainers have a true lineage of B-U Homecoming Queens. Déjà vu all over again.

Getting close and personal now, my dear wife of 44 years while studying medicine on the other side of our spinning Earth, was elected by her Filipino Far Eastern University School of Medicine classmates as their “Muse.” I had to brush up on my Greek and Roman mythology to understand that Araceli was elected the equivalent of our B-U Homecoming Queen. Her title declares she is a daughter of the King and Queen of Arts and Science. So now, déjà vu all over again. As a physician, Araceli completed an endearing practice of medicine, caring for the medical needs of our US Veterans at the Clarksburg Veteran Affairs Medical Center. These military heroes who served the cause of preserving our freedom, many of whom freed the Philippines from Japanese tyranny, loved their “Good Doctor Ganan.”

So lesson learned by studying the history of our Queens is a pattern: once a Queen, always a Queen. We use “long live” and “long may” in expressions such as “Long live the Queen” and “Long may it continue” to express our support for someone or something and our hope that they will live or last a long time. We live in a free country with democratic principles governing our republic, including free and open elections right down to Homecoming royalty.

So what does the future hold for our newly elected 2019 B-U Homecoming Queen? And for our newly elected B-U Homecoming King? 

Queen Jessica Lane and King Jared Propst look back at me through photogenic poses. I am not practicing armchair psychiatry. I do not know their strengths and weaknesses, but I trust the democratic principle behind their election by the student body. I cannot predict their future, but I do hold out the Yogi-ism: “Déjà vu all over again!” And I rest my case in learning that Jessica Lane’s grandmother, Karen Lane, served as B-UHS Homecoming Queen in 1961.

Also, I recall the wisdom from a story passed on to me by mountaineers living up and down the hollows of Upshur County where I made house calls, riding shot gun with my Country Doctor Dad. The basic story goes like this: two youngsters determine to out-smart the senior person in their village. They capture a bird. Holding it clasped in their hands, they approach the senior citizen. The question asked is simple: “Old-timer, is the bird in our grasp alive or dead?”

If the answer is “The bird is dead,” they will open their cupped hands, releasing the bird to fly away. The youth will outsmart and shame an old-timer. 

If the answer is “The bird is alive,” then they will crush the bird, showing it to be very dead. The youth will outsmart and shame an old-timer.

Considering the set-up, the truly wise mountaineer answers, “The life of the bird is in your hands!”

Lesson learned: the life of our new B-U Homecoming Queen and King, as well as the entire student body, is in the hands of each one.

Opportunity awaits!

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