I have been a kid all my life.  I started out as a kid of course, and naturally, I got bigger, but not much else has changed.  My wife Jeanie says I have “Peter Pan Syndrome.”  Do you remember the song from the classic story?  “I won’t grow up, I won’t grown up; I don’t wanna go to school?”  Anyway, you get the point.  I became a husband and father at a very young age.  I certainly don’t recommend that.  It’s a real challenge when the adult world refuses to take you seriously, and you are trying to raise a child, and you are still a kid yourself.  Finding employment is a booger in your teenage years.  Especially the kind of work that can feed, clothe and keep a roof over a family.  Not to mention transportation, insurance, etc.

But I was determined.  I was fortunate that a radio station owner in a small town decided to give me a break, and I have worked every day since without having to resort to flipping burgers.  yet.  I remember sitting in business meetings with clients, and I could tell by the looks on their faces that what they were wondering was, “Does his Mom know where he is?”  Or, “shouldn’t you be in school?”  I just kept plugging away.  That is, until this weekend.  I’m going the long way around to get to the point.  People used to make jokes that my first son Jeff and I might graduate in the same class! It hit me this weekend like a cast iron skillet in the forehead.  I’m NOT a kid anymore.  
This harsh reality unfolded before my eyes, when on Saturday night…..I had a beer with my Grandson.  

This beautiful baby boy who showed up 19 years ago, the Firstborn Son of My first born Son!  Then, yesterday we hugged and cried as he left for the United States Marine Corps Boot Camp in San Diego.  Is this real?  How could this have happened…and how could it have happened so quickly? Yesterday I changed his diaper.  Yesterday I held his little hands as he took his first steps.  Yesterday he started kindergarten.  Yesterday he joined The Marines.
It’s official.  I am no longer a boy.  And neither is he. This I know.  Gage Neal Dionne wants to be a Doctor.  He is fascinated by science and has the people skills and bedside manner necessary to be an extraordinary physician.  

So, why the Marine Corps?  A little family history here.  My sister Sherry is a Nurse.  Her Son, my nephew, Gregg Pate is like a fifth son to me.
He joined the Marines and decided to stay in the service.  The Navy put him through Medical school. He is now a highly respected Navy Surgeon, who has performed humanitarian procedures all over the world.  He is an exceptional young man who is now stationed stateside in Seattle and Gage is following in his footsteps. Smart kid.  He serves his country and eventually fulfills his dreams without a mountain of student debt.  You Go, Gage!  It appears that Dionne’s do indeed get smarter with each successive generation.  I love you boy! 

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