he weekend was full of its fun, as well as the expected work of an end to the semester. After my last class took its final on Thursday – and I have to say that these groups of students have been cooler than cool to discuss this material with – I received the surprise announcement from one student that he'd converted because of the class. Obviously, in an academic context, that not what these courses are about, but the examination of the Jewish/Christian experience carries that possibility. I'd not known that this particular student was at such a crossroads, however, and so after talking a bit at the end of the exam, I was left with the empty room, and a grateful, overwhelmed sense of being in such a place and time where I can have the potential to change the course of someone's life even at unawares. It's an ugly room on the SE corner of the entry floor of the ugly Lalumiere Hall, but I suddenly found myself deeply moved and praying over that empty room in speechless gratitude for the semester. I spent the rest of the evening with Jen once she got free and tried to convey something of the feeling to her as we walked her neighbourhood, enjoying the warm spring night before she left in the morning to go climbing out at Devil's Lake with her crew.
Friday night featured a going-away dinner at County Clare for Moon-Ju Shin, who had defended her English dissertation April 13th on Emily Dickinson's Ecocentric Pastoralism
. A bunch of people from Fides – Professor Kurz, Matthew and Elizabeth Sutton, and Maria Keaton – all joined together to wish her well and celebrate her success before she heads back to South Korea in a few weeks. Apropos of her subject, Moon-Ju treated us to a dessert she smuggled into the restaurant: gingerbread made from Emily Dickinson's own recipe. I thought it actually capped my tangy roast pork loin rather nicely.
Saturday was consumed with Barnes' "Patristics Picnic," where all the students even vaguely (like me) associated with the study of patristics gathered together for grilling, conversation, and fun. I had a chance to catch up with a number of people I hadn't run into in a while, and met Barnes' purple-haired French mother for the first time as she made her way from group to group and charmed the lot of us. I even took Anna off Dan and Amy's hands for a wee bit and gave her her first tree-climbing experience, which got her quite excited and even competitive once Renée Harris also joined us. The picnic in time retired to the Lloyds' place and I ducked out around eight as the Barneses arrived once again so that I could get back and grade. That took me until about six a.m. this morning, with grades, as always, being due at noon Monday. After crashing, I got up and began it: the Dissertation Summer. Off to the library I went, laptop in bag.
One bit of festiveness that added to the grading process was that in an idle mood on Friday after dinner I had transferred one of my two as-yet-unconverted George and the Freeks show tapes to mp3 files and listened to that through the grading. This was the first tape I have of the post-Goldschmidt period of the Freeks, the 14 September 1996 show at Corby's Pub (made slightly less than famous in the film Rudy
) where a rather unprepared Mark Lang had to quickly step up to lead guitar and learn by immersion. The show also features what I believe to be the premiere of weaklingrecords
masterful groove "Wanting, Waiting" and is the first show I have with my personal fave-rave "Gratitude" on it, although I think that one had been premiered at an earlier show. If you know where to listen, you can even vaguely hear me yelling to Doug to continue the band's segue from "Fell" into "Eat Nachos" on into "When I Think of You," which three-part segue became a crowd dance favourite for the rest of the year. Good times.
Setlist for the historians of the obscure:
George and the Freeks: Live at Corby's Pub, South Bend – 14 September 1996
Southern Cross (by Crosby, Stills & Nash)
Quinn the Eskimo (by Bob Dylan)
The Search for Aeneas
I Know You Rider (traditional, as by the Grateful Dead)
Thoughts/"Starts on F"
Eat Nachos -->
When I Think Of You
Only Beauty -->
Gypsy Moths and Cantaloupe
Gotta Be Good
Dear Mr. Fantasy (by Traffic)
Bouncing Around the Room (by Phish)
Field of Bliss
Rosemary (by Lenny Kravitz)
Ripple (by the Grateful Dead)