Saturday the #1 son, who you may recall is a high school junior, and I drove northeast 167 miles one way to visit Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, which is in the piney woods of east Texas. Or “Naco-nowhere,” as it’s sometimes called. It is out in the middle of nowhere, suddenly popping up as you drive down Business 59. Nacogdoches is a quaint village, billing itself as the oldest town in Texas. But we weren’t visiting as tourists; we were there to see the third college possibility for #1.
The event we were there for was SFA’s Saturday Showcase for high school juniors and seniors. It was a great chance to see the campus and all it has to offer. The SFA administrators are no dummies—they scheduled the event at the perfect time to show off their campus, which is lined with hundreds if not thousands of azalea bushes.
Bluebonnets aren’t the only harbinger of spring in Texas; azaleas are in full bloom at the same time, and they’re gorgeous! Every March I look forward to the azaleas blooming, so I loved walking on a campus where there was a veritable rainbow of colors at every turn. The surly #1 son couldn’t be bothered with even noticing the beauty all around him, of course. I had brought my Nikon D300 and my Nikon 105mm macro lens anticipating a great photo op, and I wasn’t disappointed.
This is just a minute sampling of all the different azaleas we saw on SFA’s campus. We also viewed the requisite statue of the big guy himself, Stephen F., aka the father of Texas. I wonder what he would think if he knew he had a university named after him, as well as a city and any number of streets.
In a nutshell, SFA’s campus is really pretty. Small but pretty. It has almost 12,000 students, and I can see why so many of them love their school.
Driving back the 167 miles, the #1 son and I chatted about the schools we had seen. It looks like we’ve taken a Goldilocks and the Three Bears approach to finding the college that fits him best: One was too big (University of Texas at Austin), one was too small (Stephen F. Austin), and one was just right (University of Texas at San Antonio). Yes, #1 has decided he wants to matriculate at UTSA. Its music technology certificate was a big selling point for him, just what he needs to help him with his future songwriting career. I’m going to keep an open mind just in case he changes his mind, but for now: Go, Roadrunners!
Axe ’em, Jacks!
SFA’s mascot is the lumberjack, no surprise out in the piney woods. At our orientation seminar, every speaker ended his or her spiel by yelling out, “Axe ’em, Jacks!” My friend Paula D., who is from Louisiana, pronounces “ask” as “aks,” slightly dyslexically. If she heard the “Axe ’em, Jacks,” slogan, she’d say, “Aks ’em what?”
Now I know why the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is really called “March Madness”: You can’t help but get angry when the teams you’ve picked in your pool get knocked out! Yes, I am talking about you, Pitt! Can’t hit free throws? Can’t play defense with five seconds left? Come on, guys! You broke my heart . . . and busted my bracket. And now I’m on the verge of losing my title as best family basketball prognosticator to the Mister!
Going into this weekend’s Final Four, I’m leading in the family playoff pool with 74 points. I had done great predicting the Sweet 16, then got my butt kicked in the Elite Eight. All my picks are back on their respective college campuses, thinking about how much they’ve disappointed me, no doubt. Meanwhile, the Mister, who has 71 points, still has North Carolina alive and winning the national title. In our pool, that would be worth 15 points (5 for the semis and 10 for the championship). All the Tar Heels have to do is beat Villanova in the semis, and the Mister is our champ.
It will be a sad day in the house if that happens. I’ve suddenly become a HUGE Villanova fan. Go, Wildcats!