"You know, you'll never finish college," my Dad said as we sat on the porch that morning. It was November 1994, and I had just dropped out of college at the University of Central Arkansas, after having to leave Hannibal-LaGrange College because of finances the year before.
"Yes I will," I answered.
I could see the hurt and disapointment in his eyes. I was his oldest son, and he was hoping for such great things from me. He had dropped out of high school to join the Navy during Vietnam, and no one before me had ever been close to going to college in his family. Now here I was, throwing away an opportunity that he never had...
Today I lived up to that promise. This was the official day of my graduation from Colorado Technical University Online. I know it is only an associates degree in General Studies from an online college, but right now, it could be a PhD in Physics from MIT to me. I have lived up to what I said I would so many years ago. The best part is that Dad is still around to see his son graduate, and be the first in our family to get a college degree. I called him to tell him that I graduated, with Honors, and he sounded so proud. True, it took me this long to finally do it, but I did it!
Now comes the really hard part, turning that associates degree into a batchelor's. I don't know for sure what I am going to do after that, maybe try to follow this to the end I originally envisioned with ordination, maybe just move further ahead in what I am doing for veterans now. I don't know. I do know though that I'm not done yet.