Friday, October 06, 2006

To Future Aggies

My brother, Matthew, is visiting Texas A&M today as a prospective student, a prospective corp member, a prospective stand-for-the-football-games, Whoop-at-the-top-of-your-lungs, swim-in-Rudder-Fountain, Don't-Walk-On-the-Grass, say-Howdy-to-everyone, hang-out-at-Sweet-Eugenes-until-you-might-as-well-have-a-coffee-IV-installed, 100% Aggie.

I get chills just thinking about it.

I get chills thinking about how much fun he could have at A&M. How much about life and school and friends and the Lord he could learn about in the wonderful, little town down in the middle of nowhere, Texas.

I get chills thinking about how much I miss that place. How much I miss the friends I made there, the kids I loved there, the church I worshiped at, and the memories I made while there.

The chills are almost comparable to the chills I get when I remember a particularly horrible-at-the-time, hilarious-to-tell-now, story about Matthew and Texas A&M.

It was the Summer of 2003. My two younger brothers were visiting me at school. Being the great big sister that I am, I took them to campus to indoctrinate and brainwash them in the ways of Aggies.

It is the same way I will brainwash my children the minute they pop out from the womb. "You must go to Texas A&M. You will go to Texas A&M. There is no university in the world other than Texas A&M. All those others schools are just made up, figments of peoples' imaginations. Don't listen to them. Listen to me. You will go to Texas A&M, and I will visit you and relive the glorious days of college. The only days I wish I could make last forever, but that vanished the fastest of all."

It's a good thing I don't have kids yet.

Anyways, back to my story.

Karley, my roommate at the time, and I were in the Memorial Student Center (hereon out known as the MSC) showing the boys the flagroom, the bookstore, the place were all Aggies meet their friends and test out their popularity by how many friends they can see in one hallway.

Karley, Joey, and I decide to see what kind of souvenirs we could buy at the bookstore. Matthew was scouring some plaques out in the hallway.

Five minutes later we walk out of the bookstore, and realize Matthew must have gone to the bathroom.

We waited, and waited. We waited so long for him to come out of that bathroom that we realized either he was deathly ill in there, or he wasn't in there at all. We started sending Joey into every "little boy's" room in the MSC. Joey is probably traumatized just thinking about that day that we shoved him in every men's room we found.

I started running up and down the halls. I was on the brink of just screaming "Matthew" over and over again at the top of my lungs.

As I rounded a corner at break-neck speed, I almost screamed right into the face of a friend from church. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"Looking for my brother," I replied as I rushed passed her and then back again, going around in circles. My eyes were starting to glaze over and I'm sure my face hollared "I'm freaking out here! Can't you see I'm losing it?!".

"Well, what does he look like? Is he little? Can he talk? How old is he?" she offered.

I stopped in my tracks and wanted to yell with all my might at the no-where-to-found brother. How ridiculous was this?

"He's 17." I threw my hands in the air and sat down in despair.

"How do I call my parents and tell them I lost their 17 year old?" I wanted to cry out of sheer frustration and embarrassment.

So, I did the only thing I could think of to do. I started looking between all pillars, behind doors, underneath chairs. Afterall, he used to think it was a game to hide from mom and dad between the pillars after church. We would spend Sunday afternoons scouring the building for him when he was TWO YEARS OLD. There were sometimes we looked so long that I wanted to order lunch in as we sat and watched mom and dad enlist every church member to tear that place apart looking for the little "sneaker."

Maybe nothing had changed.

Karley and Joey decided to wait at the MSC in case he came back to the bookstore, while I began the longest trek of my life.

I walked the exact route we had used to come to the MSC. Back to Heldenfels, through the library, across the skywalk, into one side of Harrington and out the other, across the field, through the parking lot, and towards the car.

What if he's not at the car?

At what point do I really call mom and dad?

Do I call the police?

Are leashes allowed for 17 year olds?

Can I lock him in my room for the rest of the week?

Am I still strong enough to beat the tar our of him, or has he grown too much?

I was headed towards the car, but I knew there was no way a 17 year old who gets lost in a building could make his way all the way across campus on his very first visit. There was no way he would be able to find his way back to any of the buildings I had shown him, let alone all the way back to the car.

I was beside myself. I told myself I should never be allowed to have kids, a dog, a pet bug for that matter. I couldn't keep track of a teenager. How hard can it be to keep your eye on a six foot, lanky red neck from Plano?

As I neared the car, I spotted a maroon baseball cap leaving the nearby building. School was not in session, so either it was my long-lost brother, or an overly studious foreign exchange student.

Matthew sauntered up to me and told me in a calm, I've-been-here-all-along tone of voice, that he had tried to call my cell phone from a pay phone in the nearby building, but it was long distance. And he didn't have $1.25 per minute.

You don't have $1.25? Well, next time you had better carry $1.25. In fact you had better carry five quarter around everywhere you go and call me if you've been out of my sight for more than 30 seconds.

"We've spent the last 45 minutes looking for you (that is not an exaggeration) and I had to explain to a friend from church that I lost my 17 year old - not two year old - brother!"

"How did you get back here anyways? Where did you go? Why would you leave the building?" I all but screamed in his face. I wanted to grab his wrist and drag him to sit in time-out.

Where was the wooden spoon for spanking? Wasn't this a viable spanking time? Can't you spank 17 year olds when they do stupid things like walk across campus and don't tell you where they're going or when they're coming back?

"I thought you left me back there, and I wanted to beat you to the car before you left campus without me." He said, completely seriously.

He thought we left him. I thought he left us. Good gracious. He probably wanted to slap me silly, as much as I wanted to whip some sense into him.

Didn't he know that I would never have left that campus without him? I would have pitched a tent and scoured that campus until I found him. I would have stayed there while the police helicopters circled overhead and the dogs sniffed out his cowboy boot scent.

So, today, when Matthew called this morning to tell me that he was in College Station, I asked if he was going to call a friend to give him an informal, student-version of the campus tour.

"I don't need a friend for that." He replied. "Don't you remember? I had my informal tour when I was 17, you lost me on campus, and I had to find my way back to the car before you left me."



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