He entered the hall of seated parents and guests, and marched up to the front stage along with the rest of the processional party consisting of Conestoga College President John Tibbits, college marshals and other related academia.
As he stood on the stage beaming at the grads entering the room, he looked like a Greek god dressed in his ceremonial gown of gold, which couldn't conceal his incredible build. His blonde hair glistened in the bright lights; his gold chain glinted from the V on his bronze, muscular chest. I thought to myself, if this is what college teachers look like, I'm going back to school!
It also occurred to me that he bore an uncanny resemblance to Mike Holmes, of HGTV's "Holmes on Homes" fame. Turns out I was right! (Great pics at those links, BTW).
Apparently Holmes had been a guest of Dr. Tibbets earlier in the day, when he toured a new satellite Conestoga project. The whole thing was duly recorded by media, including Mike's own videographer.
Somehow the famous guardian angel of the reno-world ended up being the guest speaker at my son's Conestoga College graduation ceremony later in the day. His speech was a welcome departure from the usual boring diatribe. I was at a similar event a few years ago at University of Waterloo, where I zoned out through most of the bombastic utterances that droned on for hours. (Woke up to watch my daughter receive her degree though!)
Mike was his usual refreshingly down-to-earth self. The first thing he did was complain about the heat; especially dressed in his heavy golden garment. He cracked a few jokes about always having wondered what people wore under such things. Now he knows. He said he had his overalls on, and he was dying of heat.
"First thing I'm going to do here, is punch out a hole in the wall over here, and over there," he motioned to each side of the room. "Then I'm going to hire a few electricians, and get some heavy-duty fans installed, and get the air moving in here...". He sounded exactly like he does at the beginning of each of his programs, laying out his plans to fix a problem and thereby rescue some poor sucker from a disastrous renovation job.
He asked how many people had seen his show, and I along with a good two-thirds of the audience put up our hands. He then made some crack about the others missing out on quality programming. He said his primary focus is helping victims of renovation horror stories to finally get some resolution and peace.
"That guy..." Holmes motioned to his constantly moving videographer, "just follows me around, filming everything I do". Indeed, at one point the camera man emerged from the second-story drapes above Mike's head and proceeded to film the event from what must have been an interesting above-and-behind angle.
Then Holmes went on to explain how the construction industry is crying out for quality tradespeople, who care about doing a job right the first time. He is encouraging young people to give serious consideration to the trades as a profession. He maintains that if you set out to do an excellent job in your chosen field, the money will follow. Pick something you love, and do it well. You will be successful.
John Tibbets reiterated that message later, and made the point that colleges are often overlooked for government funding, which tends to go to universities instead. But if the need for quality people in trades is going to be addressed, colleges are going to have to start getting a bigger portion of the funding pie.
It was an awesome afternoon. I was very proud of my son, who finally received that important piece of paper that will be his calling card for a promising future. Congrats! He also had the opportunity to shake Mike's hand, but the signficance of the event was lost on him, since he had never seen the show. I guess I have been negligent as a mother in some areas. (Sigh).
As Mike Holmes left the hall with the rest of the recessional party, I caught a glimpse of his trademark brown overalls and construction shoes where the gown ended just below the knees.
Somehow that moment showcased the message of the whole event - Cut out the pretention and get down to the business of doing a good job the first time.
Or as Mike would say, "Make it Right".