I've been out of pocket the past three days. Part of my excuse was the need to attend a yearly convention at which I was a speaker. Complicating my lack of internet activity was accidentally leaving the briefcase that contained iPads and all charging cords for phones on a kitchen chair. The silence actually created a pleasant interlude, so while my phone didn't get recharged, my spirit did. Here are some of the things I didn't get to write about. But I've been thinking about them while we were away. (Roughly known as Randon Bits of Crap -- RBOC)
Most irritating moment: I was one of two main speakers at business meeting of this convention. Both of us were asked to describe the non-profit organizations we represented, with an eye toward making sure the audience understood what we do and how seriously underfunded we are. The first speaker was introduced as Dr. D, retired professor from X University and now President and CEO of Organization A. I was introduced as Carolyn Schriber, representing Organization B. Both introductions were true, but were they accurate?
Somehow, It think it might have made a difference if I had been introduced -- entirely accurately -- as Dr. S, Professor Emerita
from Y College and now Incoming President of Organization P. That introduction would also have been true. And within a formal situation, I couldn't help feeling that "Dr. D's" message carried more weight with the audience than "Carolyn's" did. I don't usually get upset by gender issues directed at me. I've lived too long in a world where I've constantly had to compete with men. But in this case, it did bother me, although I said nothing about it. What would you have done? What if, as was the case here, the person making the introductions was a friend, not someone intentionally casting a slur on my qualifications?
There were several bright spots to make up for the one uncomfortable moment, however. At the end of the conference, we slipped away for a few minutes to visit a nearby Civil War battlefield. Unfortunately we arrived too late to get in, but across the road we found a Civil War Relics shop. It turned out to be a finely curated mini-museum, and in its book section I discovered a real treasure: a reprint of several volumes of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Best of all, they had Vol. 14 of Series I, which covers the exact period and location of my Civil War books -- the coast of South Carolina in 1862 and 1863. For $17.95 my research just became measurably easier. Score one for my side!
This photograph falls into the cute category. It certainly brightened my day. We had a group of teenaged Leo Club members attending the conference. They were all staying in a group cabin with their parents' as chaperones. They had their own kitchen facilities and enough food to feed them and most of us as well. Look who showed up at their balcony door to beg for a handout. I've attended meetings and other affair at the Inn in this state park for years without seeing an animal. Can raccoons spot a fuzzy-animal-loving teenager from a distance? Thanks, Jordan, for posting the picture and making me smile.
And finally, a couple of signs we spotted along the road on the way home. The more puzzling one was repeated all over one small town: "Leaf Season ends February 29th." Presumably, that's the last day to get your leaves raked and put out for trash collection, but for a few moments I wondered whether there was a town ordinance that controlled the sprouting of all the new leaves we were seeing.
The one that really made me smile, however, was in front of a small town church: "Kneeling often keeps you in good standing."
Keep smiling, friends.