I was able to see my daughter last weekend in Virginia. She attends the Virginia Military Institute, and it was Parent’s Weekend, which perfectly coordinated with my Fall Break! It was also her birthday last weekend, so the forces of nature were for once, alligned in my favor. It was also the height of autumnal splendor too, so I had a lovely trip, snapping happily away with my camera. The only negative in the whole weekend was that VMI lost the football game in the last three minutes, but I guess I can overlook that as I’m more into the crowd experience than the actual game.
It was a breath-takenly beautiful day on Saturday, and I got up early to go to the Open House at the Barracks. Carrie lives in a very stark condition there with four roommates. She must keep her uniform and book supplies neatly arranged. They roll their “hay” every single day and stack their bed frames against the wall. It serves the double purpose of giving them more room and keeping them from lounging around. The kids have stereos and computers but no televsions or refridgerators like normal college rooms. It’s quite a jog to the restrooms, and they must go outside to reach it. I’m not sure I would ever make it safely on a cold morning. Since females are in the minority at VMI, they have to get fully dressed too or be in their long robes.
After visiting the barracks, I watched the military parade. Carrie doesn’t have to be in them any more because she is a fifth year student and a cheerleader. She had to go to practice before the game. I loved watching the parade as it reminded me of the first time I visited her as a “rat”–the term they call freshmen before the breakout period when they can officially be called fourth classmen. She was so thin then, and they had chopped her hair all off. I’m glad she is tough and was able to get through the past four years.
The football game was fun. The students have to attend and they march down to the field in formation. The rats must yell or they will in turn get yelled at. If the VMI team scores a touchdown, all the rats have to run to the sidelines (all 400 of them) and do as many pushups as the current score–each and every time. It can be quite a lot of pushups as this is cumulative. Carrie and the cheerleaders do the pushups as well. Maybe that’s why I don’t worry so much when they throw her up into the air really high. She is on the frontpage of the VMI website this week. If you would like to see her picture, visit the VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE website.