This story was born by a single rhetorical question a friend of mine posed a while back: "What will happen when all of these home schooled children grow up and enter society?"
Anyway, thought I'd pay you all back for the enjoyment and knowledge I've gained in your stories.
All comments are welcome and appreciated.
Former President George Ryan stepped to the oak podium in the darkened auditorium, gently striking his glass with the silver knife as he smiled at his wife on the dais with him. The packed room slowly quieted, he seemed to feed on this moment, the moment when all surrounding him concentrated on what he was about to say, lent him their precious attention for this small piece in their lives. They stood as much for the toast as for respect for the de-facto leader of this great cabal.
The hall now to attention he raised his glass of champagne high above his head as if its height might speed his words to the Almighty's ear sooner. When the shifting of chairs had quieted, and all stood awaiting him, he continued.
"Brothers and Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen, Citizens, I raise my glass this night in toast to you and ask that you do likewise." The President turned now to the flag of the Republic standing prominently on the side of the stage.
President Ryan closed his eyes now, I found this a trait that he and I shared as we were in moments of deep thought. It calmed the mind and focused the spirit. My hand found itself searching out that of my beautiful bride, to assure myself in some small way that she was still there with me in this important time. I always found the need to make sure she was still there when important moments were afoot.
"A toast, to the great Experiment, its Citizens, and the Lord Almighty who has seemed fit to bless this country.
Now a toast to you my brothers and sisters who have given so much to the great Republic.
To our parents most of whom now look down on us, part of the great chorus on high, we thank them for their ingenious foresight, bold action, and commitment in the great time of trials. For their plan, conceived starting this very night in this very room thirty years ago.
To the unnamed man on the street, that our guidance may pierce his heart with its wisdom and truth.
And finally, to our children, that they may dream bigger, and achieve greater goals, and have the grip to hold on to the gift we have given back to them.
"To God and Republic" answered back the room. Glasses were drained, smiles and hugs exchanged and we returned to our seats.
The low murmur returned to the room. I smiled and kissed my bride of twenty years, and wiped the tears from my eyes. I could hardly believe that so much time had passed, that so much work had been done, and yet, so little blood spilled in this great endeavor.
Our retirement party, the very though chilled me for some reason. The thought that my duty was done, and that this was the time to step aside seemed premature. Was the new generation ready? Had we taught enough in one generation to overcome the learning of so many other generations before them?
I closed my eyes and tried to remember my parents, all those nights ago, thirty years. It was hard now, time erases some of those memories, much to my dismay. I could see the room, the people, but I couldn't hear my mothers or fathers voices, those loving sounds were lost now, not to be regained I suppose until I joined them in the great choir. I opened my eyes again now.
To my left, my lovely wife Jiselle, to my right, my best friend of all those years ago, Julian Right. He smiled at me just as my wife had, his arm around his bride of one year, and gently raised his glass in my direction.
I returned the gesture and leaned closer. "I guess this is it my friend." He smiled and patted my shoulder.
"A rest well deserved."
I smiled back weakly, thinking of the sacrifices that he had made over those years.
The murmur, it struck me now, the murmur was the same now as it was then. The toaster was different, then John Paul Ryan Senior, we hadn't dared gather together in those dark years between when the grand plan was born and today, and our parents wouldn't allow it. They had sacrificed much, some had changed names, some had moved from this, their home, sold family farms over one hundred years old, some had hidden their true religion. Now we felt safe though.
Our retirement party. The very concept made me shudder. What now? I didn't like fishing, my hobbies of youth were long shelved in the pursuit of our ultimate goals. I guess I would just sit back and watch the grand opera of which we had played the opening symphony.
I stood up, feeling the need to move, and walked through the room.