In this time, when we’re supposed to stay at home, the problem of keeping myself entertained without people is creating interesting developments. Some time ago, I found a wonderful enterprise called Great Courses. This is a company who hires phenomenal teachers to present courses on different subjects. They have courses on investing, organic chemistry, Mediterranean cooking, wine, building a better vocabulary, religion & theology, history, and languages as well as art, music, and literature as well as many other courses.
I happened to get one of their catalogs when the shutdowns first started and found that they had several courses on sale for $35 each! It was almost a moral imperative to order something. In reviewing this catalog, I found four courses that I could not live without: The Celtic World, Fundamentals of Photography, Writing Creative Nonfiction, and Biblical Hebrew: Learning a Sacred Language. I told a friend of mine about this goldmine of fascinating entertainment and saw a strange look cross her face. It was not unlike many looks I have received over the years – a kind of dumbfounded look.
I started watching The Celtic World where they talked about the origin of the Celts and heard them mention the Gauls. Immediately I was transported back in time to my second-grade class.
We had moved to Great Bend maybe a year before and the local grocery store was selling encyclopedias for children. Mom bought them as they came out and I loved them! I read them from cover to cover! When the volume of Gs came out, I read about the Gauls, prehistoric Frenchmen who battled the Roman Legions.
Mrs. Henry, my second-grade teacher, asked us what we might like to learn in school, and I told her that I’d like to learn more about the Gauls. It seemed reasonable to me that the other kids would enjoy hearing about blood-curdling exploits of these barbarians who took on Rome. Mrs. Henry seemed a bit taken aback and asked if I was wanting to learn more about Dolls. When I tried to explain to her about the Gauls, she gave me one of those dumbfounded looks that I was starting to recognize.
We moved to Memphis, TN, when I was about three so Dad could go to Southern College of Optometry. Mom’s folks came down to visit us and the story was told that Grandma thought that I was becoming a little overbearing. Perhaps it was time to get me into school. Tennessee didn’t have kindergartens at that time but there was a day care run by two wives of professors at Dad’s school. I was enrolled and spent two years there. It was a wonderful school with lots of innovative learning. We learned French and put on plays, but I haven’t heard of many people my age who went to kindergarten for two years.
When I was in fifth grade, I overheard some people talking about one of the teachers as being “soft”. For some reason, I thought that this was a compliment and I didn’t want my teacher (who was a battleax of battleaxes) to feel left out so I told her that, while some people may have felt that this other teacher was soft, I thought that she was! I was kind of surprised to see that same dumbfounded look on her face when I was giving her such a fine compliment!
I have since decided that some people are destined to walk a different path. Robert Frost wrote a poem about this. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by …” Those of us who travel that “less traveled” road see the world differently! We can have interesting lives – whether we want them to be or not. One of the most important things we learn is to value the friends who are willing to accept us as we are. It takes a special person to befriend us because we generally have no idea what will be coming out of our mouths from one minute to the next! Here’s to those generous people who will stick with us – even though they may often look dumbfounded!