Sometimes life offers up unexpected sweetness.
Twenty years ago I was a brand-new assistant professor in the philosophy department at CU, teaching my first upper-division ethical theory course and learning along with my students. For some reason that I don't quite remember, I became involved in organizing our department's first-ever winter retreat for our undergraduate philosophy majors, up at Snow Mountain Ranch (YMCA of the Rockies), a time for twelve or fifteen students to gather together with a few faculty members for a weekend of intense philosophical conversation and fun in the snow.
As the weekend progressed, I couldn't help noticing that one of my favorite students from the Ethical Theory class, Lorena, an astonishingly bright and eager student who also knitted assiduously during every class, was spending the entire weekend in rapt conversation with another attendee, Justin; the two of them were inseparable. Before class one one day during the following week, she told me that I'd never guess who she was dating. Um - Justin? Yes!
Over the next few years, they both graduated and headed off to law school. I wondered if Lorena would have time to continue her knitting while immersed in the rigors of her legal training, but it was during law school that she took up applique quilting. She and Justin married, settled in the Pacific Northwest, practiced law, started a family. Their Christmas card letters told about their prolific garden, their canning, Justin's enthusiasm for guitar building, and the activities of their two bright, busy children, who grew up to become avid readers - of my books. I heard that 7 x 9 = Trouble! was a particular favorite, so much so that the parents awaited the sequel, Fractions = Trouble!, more eagerly than the children, so sick were they of reading the first book.
I'm writing this right now in the beautiful Indianapolis Airport, where I'm about to board a plane for Salt Lake City, and then travel on to Eugene, to spend tomorrow doing an author visit at Eliza and Quinn's school, and then to spend the rest of the weekend hanging out with the whole family, tagging along to gymnastic meets and other activities, seeing some of Oregon (for the first time). Tomorrow I will be talking about 7 x 9 = Trouble! in the classroom of the children whose parents fell in love before my very eyes on a snowy weekend twenty years ago. How sweet is that?