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Off to Great Places

An Emergency Story




A vignette written in response to Ginger S's quotation challenge.

“Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances.”


Words in italics are taken from “Oh, the Places You'll Go!”  by Dr. Seuss.

Although they are used without permission, no copyright infringement is intended, and no financial gain will be realized by their use.




Today is your day. 

You're off to Great Places! 

You're off and away!


As Roy DeSoto sat in the darkened auditorium, surrounded by family and close friends, the opening lines of one of his favourite Dr. Seuss books came to mind.  Full of optimism and encouragement, the words seemed especially appropriate today.  The room was packed to the doors with people who were here to celebrate achievement, accomplishment, and also departure;  this ceremony was an important rite of passage for the people involved.  For tonight, Roy's daughter Jennifer was graduating from high school.


The names of the graduates were being called alphabetically;  with the surname DeSoto, it wouldn't be long before Jenny's turn would come.  Roy's thoughts turned retrospective, as he found himself wondering where the years had gone.  His darling little princess had blossomed into a beautiful, intelligent young woman who was now getting ready to receive her graduation diploma.  Shaking his head, he realized that while there was no guarantee in a child's life, there was one inevitability;  the child would grow up, from toddler to teen, in what would seem to be the blink of an eye.


You have brains in your head. 

You have feet in your shoes. 

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.


There was no guarantee, mused Roy, that a child would grow up to fulfil the preconceived notions that her parents had held dear.  His daughter, while breezing through the primary grades of education with a strong academic showing, had arrived in high school and found an affinity for a completely unexpected field of study:  construction technology.  With both brains and skill at working with her hands, Jenny planned to study architecture with a concentration on developing more environmentally safe building materials.  His little Jenny!  He was so proud of her!


It hadn't been easy, however, raising children;  JoAnn had felt more of the day-to-day burden than he had.  While he was at work for his long, twenty-four hour shifts, her days had no time outs, no one else at hand to assume the responsibility of caring for their two, growing children.  Even when they grew more independent as teenagers, JoAnn was still on full time duty as driver, personal shopper, and chief cook!  No, decided Roy, parenting children of any age provided no time outs of any kind!


So be sure when you step. 

Step with great care and tact

and remember that Life's

a Great Balancing Act.


A sharp poke in his side from JoAnn roused Roy from his reflections.  He straightened in his seat, suddenly aware that his daughter Jennifer was on the stage, shaking hands with the principal and receiving her graduation diploma.  Fairly bursting with pride, he glanced around him and saw both his wife and son Christopher displaying the same proud satisfaction.  On his other side was his partner, best friend, and his kids' de facto uncle;  Johnny Gage had a huge delighted grin on his face as he watched his favourite 'niece', who was now shaking hands with her teacher.


As Roy settled back in his seat, he allowed himself one more moment of introspection.  Jennifer's graduation marked her passage from childhood to the exciting world of a young adult.  He knew that he and JoAnn had done their jobs as parents to the best of their ability; there were no second chances.  Roy watched his daughter, and was nudged with a hint of melancholy that this part of his journey of life was over, at the same time filled with hope that his youngest child's trip would be equally fulfilling.





A/N:  For the Dr. Seuss purists out there, yes, I know that “Oh, the Places You'll Go” wasn't published until 1990, so Roy in fact could not have read it prior to Jenny's graduation.  But for the purpose of this vignette, I have temporarily suspended reality.  Isn't that what fanfic is all about?  - ubicaritas -



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