MARY JO: Whaaaat? This isn’t supposed to be here yet. Is it …?
JOHN: Well, it says, “You are Tigertown Bound.” I think, uhhh, yeah, I think it is.
MJ (peering under the address label): “Dear Luke:” … I can’t see … I’m not sure …
JD: What’s it say, what’s it say? You gonna open it?
MJ: (still pulling at the label window): “Dear Luke:” …
JD: Text him! Text him!
It’s clear now — as it has been for a good 17+ years — that Mary Jo and I are way more into this college thing than Luke is. When he got his first acceptance, a few weeks ago from Purdue, he was glad to get one out of the way. As glad as a 17-year-old with a default setting of “Whatever” can be, anyway. At least he knew then that he wouldn’t have to settle for North Fulton Computer and Auto Tech College.
I think he smiled. I hugged him. I’m not sure he hugged back. It was a practical Luke breakthrough.
For Mary Jo and I, though, that first one was a kind of validation, I think, for all of our — whoa, I mean, all of Luke’s, of course — hard, hard work.
We received a fairly unimpressive second acceptance earlier this week, via e-mail. From the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., just outside of Denver. The official letter is coming soon. When that hits the mailbox, we will be much cooler about it. Honestly.
But the answer from Clemson wasn’t supposed to be in until February. So when Mary Jo saw the big envelope … whew, baby. Christmas in early November. Or so we figured.
The funny thing about Clemson is, it’s not even in Luke’s top tier of choices. I’m not sure it’s in ours, either. (Of course, we’re not completely sure of Luke’s top tier. When we ask him who’s runner-up to No. 1 Georgia Tech — Tech isn’t supposed to let us know until January — he shrugs his shoulders, audibly rolls his eyes — yes, audibly — and looks for something else to eat. Again, part of his default setting.)
We visited Clemson, back in 2013 or ’14, and liked it well enough. But it didn’t blow us away. It’s not far, though. That’s a plus.
Luke’s overwhelming impression was that our guide was overly caffeinated, a little too preppy and wore shorts that were too short.
Engineering curriculum? Campus? Dining? Male-to-female ratio? Sports? The town?
The dude’s shorts were too short.
So, yeah, we applied anyway — Luke applied — because the engineering school is decent (it’s no Tech or Purdue or Illinois or Texas, but it’s pretty good) and it’s only two hours away. We hoped Luke would get accepted because, if nothing else, it gave us — him, dammit — some options.
Well, he was accepted. Luke allowed Mary Jo to open the envelope, and the acceptance letter was there, all nice and typed up. They offered a good amount of scholarship money, too, which might complicate the choice if that dude’s shorts had been of a proper length.
Instead, Clemson is a possibility only if Tech says no. And if Tech says no, which is always a possibility because Tech is hard to crack … well, we’ll probably have to visit a couple of these campuses again. Clemson would be one of them.
We’ll just have to hope for cold weather if we go back. Or hope that guide finds a longer pair of shorts.