he second finale, as it were, of the school year came after the students' various graduation events, when the departmental faculty gathered at The Columns Hotel
for a last get-together, the evening that Mari was leaving town. I was running a bit late from a meeting on campus, having a long, cool talk with the Dean, where we had gotten side-tracked by talking about the text of The Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas
, which I was delighted to discover that she knew as well as I did, and by her describing to me her ongoing medieval Christianity/Islam research project, which should make for amazingly fun reading when she publishes it. So I got there in time to catch Mari and Ilya, and for a brief time Sara before she had to leave, and it wasn't long before we were able to snag a table out on the porch rather than remaining holed up inside, about the time Aaron arrived.
Before too long, we were all settled outside, where you have the pleasure of feeling the cooling of the evening in New Orleans, the breeze and the occasional rumble of a streetcar passing on St. Charles Avenue. Ken arrived, and in short order, Bob and Liz as well. By the time Aaron had to go, Terri arrived to take his place. It's been a few weeks, so in bad journaling form, I can't really remember much of the conversation now. There was a lot on summer plans: writing projects and goals, Terri's summer course in Rome (with a few days in Florence), which my Modern Christian Thought student Kyleah was going to be a part of, some of the restructuring of Liz's order, the School Sisters of Notre Dame
, and the vast globe-trotting summer schedule of Mari and Ilya, where she would be home for a bit in Budapest, as well as joining Ilya for conferences in New York City and Seoul, before they vacationed in southeast Asia. And then her return and moving up to Canada. So that was kind of epic, and we all marveled at what they were going to juggle and enjoy.
By the end of the evening, it was just Mari, Ilya and I saying good-night to one another. I was getting a bit melancholy to already be saying good-bye to Mari, who I had collaborated with the most, and gotten closest to among all my colleagues, and it was a pain to see this friendship coming to an end of its "comfortably in the same setting" stage. So saying good-bye was a sad moment for that, although exciting for all that was in front of her.