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Graduation is a time to remember
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This time of year, it is always so nice to see all of the smiling faces of the soon-to-be graduates - so pure, so ready to face life.

It brings back memories of my own graduations.

I believe my best graduation was when I graduated from eighth grade at old St. Mary's in Annapolis.

My second best graduation was when I graduated from Mrs. Fleet's school of typing with honors. I was the only boy in a class with 49 girls. Even though I graduated with honors, I never did learn to type, and that might be another story some day.

My eighth-grade graduation was so memorable because of the kiss.

You need to understand that growing up out in the backwoods of Southern Maryland I rarely had contact with girls, although in the third grade I did have a girlfriend of sorts.

Her name was Beverly. Beverly was the toughest kid in our class, and she protected me from all of the bullies, and because of my mouth, that alone probably saved what brains I have left today.

Beverly was a good old girl, but she wasn't, at that time, very pretty. Later she grew into a beautiful woman, as did most of the girls I thought were yucky at that time.

I just never thought of her as a girl.

Later in the seventh grade, I think I did have a crush on a girl named Alexis, but so did every other boy in our class. Since I didn't have Beverly to protect me anymore, I kept my thoughts about Alexis to myself.

After graduation from eighth grade, I was invited to my first boy-girl party in honor of that graduation.

It was held at my classmate Mary Margaret's house.

I remember we played games, ate ice cream and cake, and my pals and I pulled the girls' hair and made sounds with our hands that sounded like we were passing gas, and we also played other great party games.

Everything was going on like a real party until for some reason we all ended up in Mary Margaret's basement, where we all gathered in a circle.

Mary Margaret then produced a coke bottle, and everybody started giggling, except me.

Gosh, I was still trying to pull Alice's ponytails.

The next thing that I remember was that Mary Margaret spun this bottle, and it pointed to my old friend Fred.

Mary Margaret and Fred then disappeared into a closet. As time went on, more of my friends went into that closet, and they all came out smiling.

I wanted to get into this magical closet in the worst way to see what was in there that was making my friends so happy.

Finally, Gracie Smith spun the bottle and it pointed to me.

Gracie, who had the reddest hair and more freckles than all of the stars in the heavens, grabbed my hand and in we went into that magical closet, I was in there for what seemed like hours, and all I could do was giggle.

For some reason it didn't seem so magical to me now. Gracie finally kissed me on the cheek, and when she did ,I know my red face must have lit up that dark closet.

To tell you the truth, I was ready to go back outside and play the games I was playing before we ended up in the basement.

I was most anxious to play pin the tail on the donkey. I always won that because I figured how to peek through the blindfold.

But nobody would leave that circle.

I saw Grace laughing and pointing at me and talking to the other girls. I felt like running into that closet and locking the door.

The very next time the bottle was spun by a girl it was done by Maggie Miller (I have mentioned her before.) and it pointed at me.

I was really scared to go off into that closet. But I did have my pride to uphold. Even though I didn't feel I had much left.

Maggie and I went to that now dreaded closet, the closet that made everyone smile except me.

This time, something happened that would forever change my thoughts about girls.

After the door closed behind us in that closet, that little quiet Maggie Miller, the Saint of the class grabbed me, put her lips on mine and proceeded to kiss me in a way that made me appreciate the French language.

It was a kiss that made my knees buckle; I saw stars at the top of the closet.

Sweat beads formed on my forehead. My hands got sweaty, and then she said in the sweetest whisper, "Pat you are so cute. I have had a crush on you all year."

Wow, a girl, not just any girl but, in fact, the most wonderful and beautiful and special girl in the whole world thought that little rolly-polly me was cute.

I floated back to the circle and prayed that Maggie Miller would spin her bottle and it would land on me again. It never did.

I never received a kiss like Maggie gave me until years later.

Even later, I still wanted her to kiss me one more time.

What I learned from that one kiss was more than I learned from my mom, who soon after tried to give me the famous lecture about sex, after reading a book on how to tell your kid for about a week.

She tried, but I locked myself in the bathroom until she finally gave up.

My dear Maggie went on to join a convent.

I understand she actually became a nun but left the order after a while.

Years later, my mother said that Maggie had called my home and wanted to talk to me, I assume after she was no longer a nun.

I tried to call her, but to no avail.

I would like to think that Maggie Miller often thought about that visit to that magical closet with such a cute boy - the same as I always remembered that visit with such a beautiful girl.

As far as I know, because she did not get back in touch with me, she might have gone back to being a nun.

I hope I didn't cause poor Maggie to become a nun because of that kiss. That would have been a shame.

All I know and remember is that kiss and knowing Maggie were the best graduation presents I have ever received.

T. Pat Cavanaugh is the general manager of The Covington News. He can be reached at pcavanaugh@covnews.