This past week was all milestones at the Paschal home.
Middle daughter and newly minted high school graduate Ellie turned 18. Four of the five people in my household now are legally adults.
Of course, only two of those adults actually pay the rent, while the two younger adults have as their primary responsibility to remind the older two of their age. And that they need money.
Ellie will go through orientation at Valdosta State University next week in preparation for joining her older sister, Essa, in the college ranks, while their mom and I apply for food stamps. (Just kidding. I think it's called an EBT card now.)
Thank goodness little sister Annie still has four years of high school ahead; that should give us enough time for the older two to graduate and find jobs with more long-term career prospects than baby-sitting.
Meanwhile, their youngest "sister" also graduated this past week. Yep, Sally got her diploma.
Our dog now is officially a Canine Good Citizen after passing her test at Jae Mar S Academy of Dog Obedience in Martinez.
We were a little worried. Even after 10 weeks of training, including homework that I'm sure would have been rigorous if we'd actually done it, Sally still seemed iffy.
But on Monday night, under the watchful eyes of the Jae Mar S instructors, Sally successfully completed all of the individual tests to earn her CGC diploma.
The graduation ceremony that followed was just like the recent ones for high school, except none of the grads' parents pumped their fists and made "woof woof woof" barking noises and no one blared an air horn.
My girls are moving up in the world. And now they've got the papers to show for it.
Cudos to Fulmer
Speaking of pedigrees, Columbia County Animal Care and Control manager Linda Fulmer last week was elected president of the nine-state Southeastern Animal Control Association.
"We are honored and proud Columbia County's AC manager is so highly regarded by her peers as a leader in her field," says Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker.
Fulmer does an outstanding job in what can be a very difficult environment. The honor is well-earned.
Few strays at Animal Control look as scruffy as the young women I saw this past week at the Washington Road entrance of the Evans Wal-Mart.
One wore a large backpack - the kind with an aluminum frame - with a bedroll tied on top. The other held a cardboard sign and was panhandling from motorists.
I couldn't read the sign, but the backpack and bedroll make it a fair guess they were using the old stranded-need-money ploy.
Just as I pulled in, the two set off across the parking lot toward the store. Intrigued, I walked inside Wal-Mart and watched through the windows.
The two motioned to a third girl at the rear entrance. She had her own sign, and was accompanied by a dog on a leash.
The trio then hoisted their gear into the trunk of a car - and drove away.
It appears the whole backpack-and-bedroll thing was just a prop to get sympathy (and money) from motorists. I'm sure their fathers are very proud.
Wal-Mart manager Patrick Clifford tells me he's amazed not just at the people who try to use the store for panhandling, giving away puppies or selling used cars - but at their attitude when confronted.
They'll often indignantly contend the Wal-Mart parking lot is public property. Clifford will tell them, no, it's private property - that if they want public property, they should haul their stuff over to the Sheriff's Office substation nearby and see how welcome they are to sell it there.
Clifford is father of three boys, by the way, and on this Father's Day I'm sure he's just as proud of them as I am of my three girls.
Happy Father's Day!
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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