Sometimes wonderful things happen so out of the blue it nearly knocks you off your feet. Jim Rose, who taught me English my junior and senior years of high school, and whose teaching shaped both me and my writing, phoned today just as the five-year-old and I were putting two loaves of banana bread in the oven. I haven’t talked to Jim since … summer of 1993, I think.
He sounded wonderful — a bit more Texas than when he was teaching the Norman conquest and Chaucer and the War of the Roses and Twain and The Fall of the House of Usher to us Ohio heathens, but unmistakable nonetheless. Talking to him, I was seventeen again, and that’s a feeling every forty-two-year-old deserves once in a while.
One of his sons — the one I held as a baby, who was such a solid kid that my first response wasn’t “Boy, he’s cute,” or “He looks just like you,” but “My, he’s substantial!” (there are some comments no one ever lets you live down) — has been sent overseas and into harm’s way. Prayers for him if you do them, or candles lit, or just a place in your thoughts. Thanks.