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Personal/Theological Notebook: Dan and Amy's; Teaching Intro; Ethics Center Paper on Modernity

I was going to try to plug away at the travel journal some more, but I think I'm too tired for tonight. I finished my last minute last minute preparations for the first day of class tomorrow, and finally committed to printing out and copying my Course Description/Syllabus for the students.

I knocked off another childhood favourite: King Tut's Game Board, by Leona Ellerby, which I had picked up used on Amazon a few weeks ago. I'm glad to read there that there looks to be another printing (it's a tragedy that it's not for sale with the museum exhibition: it really is a fun historical fantasy for a kid). For some reason, I'd never bought a copy as a kid, perhaps because a hardcover cost so much more, or because it was so readily available at our library. You see, not only was it popular for tapping into the craze of the first visit of the Tutankhamun treasures to the United States, it was also written by a local author. Mrs. Ellerby was the librarian at the high school and was also married to William Ellerby, the exceptional teacher of American history and government who "sealed the deal" in steering me toward history in college, and was the classic Teacher Who Made a Difference for me that I mentioned some entries back. In our small town, there was an extra aura of cosmopolitan excitement to my mind as a kid to know that we had an Author in our midst. When I arrived in high school and got to know Mrs. Ellerby a little bit, I was able to express how much her young adult adventure, with its love for antiquity, meant to me in Jr. High. This ended up a particular treat, as she eventually loaned me the typescript of her unpublished sequel to the first fantasy, which my brother Joe and I then got to share as something of secret between us. Having that kind of "access" as a kid seemed all the more exotic....

We had a fine hurrah to warm ourselves up for the semester over at Dan and Amy's yesterday. The usual suspects: Mike and Donna Harris (I got to meet baby Bobby Zeke for the first time, who was very red-faced), Crip and Lisa Stephenson, our married doctoral-student couple/future Theology Power Couple, and Professors Barnes and Orlov. Barnes brought granddaughter Rae again, who was like a completely different person from the last time I had seen her (she off for kindergarten and told Michel on the way over "I'm not shy anymore." That's the truth). Barnes paid me off for the back issues of Green Lantern I've been hunting down for him, and gave me a poster with a cool icon of Augustine on it for the "Reconsiderations II" conference he's going to at the end of September (which would be totally cool to go to). We went very late, for the Lloyds, I think busting up around 1am or 1:30. The pork roast and chicken kebobs were first-rate, and I think Dan said that we had seven bottles of wine, and that's with the Stephensons not drinking, although I'm a little fuzzy on those details. Just lots of long, fun, and increasingly-mellow conversation on the patio.

My paper proposal for the "Modernity: Yearning for the Infinite" conference at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture was accepted. That'll be one more thing distracting me from the dissertation-writing....

I'm jazzed to kick off the class tomorrow. Introduction to Theology is considered perhaps the most difficult course in the Department or in the field to teach well. I'm excited to start trying to figure it out, even though I fear (for these students) that it will take me a few semesters to really get in the swing of it. After several nights of noise and parties, the campus has been very still tonight: you can feel the anticipation. It's a new year.
Tags: barnes, books, cultural, ethical, family, food, friends-marquette era, marquette, personal, teachers, teaching, theological notebook, writing
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