Friday, May 15, 2009


In 1994 a friend of mine spent a semester overseas. He went to Scotland and, knowing I was a fan of scotch, brought me back a beautiful bottle of single malt, which in today’s market sells for approximately $62.

Authentic Collection
Cask Strength
Single Malt
Aged 19 Years
Distilled March 1975
Bottled June 1994
Ardbeg Distillery

This whiskey has been bottled from a selected individual cask in its natural state and shows the character of that cask. It has not been diluted with water. It has not been treated to change its colour and is free from all additives. It has not been subjected to any filtration that might remove natural constituents and spoil its flavour. It is the authentic product of its distillery.

Notice the scotch is cask strength. It is unavailable in the US (and it cannot be ordered online) because there is no proof listed. What comes out of the cask is not watered down. This is the real deal.

I mention all of this because I have hung onto this bottle for years. I just didn’t know when to open it. I debated cracking it at my daughter’s birth, and that would have been a perfect time. But somehow celebrating her birth with scotch didn’t seem right. Her birth was not my accomplishment; it was my blessing. We were busy and excited and nervous. I got to work raising my daughter and didn’t open it.

This weekend I will graduate with a Masters of Science in Education (MSEd) degree from Missouri State University. This time, my daughter is a part of my celebration. She has spent time decorating my gift and being excited.

With this accomplishment things are different. This journey has taken my entire village of family and friends to get us through it. I say “us” because while the schoolwork was my accomplishment, it took sacrifice and patience, late nights and dedication on the part of my wife, daughter, and other family members to get us through this experience.

My wife has often felt like a single parent. Our parents and my grandmother have helped us out financially, and everyone has helped watch our daughter when my wife and I were detained or otherwise unable. It has been hard on everyone and it is an accomplishment that is shared by so many.

This weekend seems the perfect time to open this bottle and share with my family and friends. It is my way of thanking them for their love and support.

I tip my glass to all who have offered a hand, and I sip my scotch in your name. Some of you will share in that drink and to you:

I thank you most of all.

To my wife, I say to you that you are no longer a single mother. Although they do say that first year of teaching is pretty rough – long hours spent grading papers and preparing lesson. We’ll drink that bottle of scotch when we come to it.



longrooffan said...

Congratulations, Jack. It is family and friends who we live this life together with. Sounds like you have many of each.

Teach our future generations well. Maybe one of them will redesign that parking lot.

Regardless, again, Congratulations, Sir.

Oh, and also, enjoy that single malt.

Those of us who have been there know that feeling of subdued confidence. It will grow with time.

All the best to you and your wonderfully insightful family.

Jackie Melton said...

Congratulations. :P

Our Crooked Tree said...

Congratulations Jack! When I finally finish my Masters I hope I have something like this to open:) You are so right that it takes the whole family to accomplish this goal as we grow as adult learners. What will you do when you get the PhD?:)