These days, I seem to alternate between sadness and missing him, and smiling over memories like this one.
He graduated from Kansas State University in May 2003, ten years after he graduated from high school. It took him that long because he spent a part of those years in the U.S. Army.
He came home from the army in 2001 a depressed and broken man, but by the time he graduated from KSU, he was so much healthier in mind and body. He was looking good, feeling good, felt he had a future. I think he was at his handsomest in that year of 2003, and my favorite photos of him are from that year.
It was also the year in which he met J. and was so very much in love, and I'm sure that also helped account for his happiness and glowing good looks that fall, though in this cute picture, he had not yet met her.
It was taken in the back yard of our old stone house. He was acting silly with the tassel on his graduation cap, blowing on it and letting it settle on and tickle his nose. I love the look on his face, looking at the tassel as he gently blows on it, the ends of it splayed around his nose, and that hint of a smile with the cute dimples just showing. How I WISH he could have continued to be that happy, whimsical, silly man.