Thanks for the memory

Life itself is gratifying, of course. But it’s nice at Thanksgiving to have enumerable specific objects of gratitude. Sunshine, laughter, pie and ice cream, Willie Mays and the like do make life worth living.

And this morning I’m specifically grateful for an unexpected find, last night. Rummaging through my library cabinet, I rediscovered a lost and forgotten binder full of my favorite role model secular evolutionist. Through the years I’ve frequently spoken of my first landlord, the kindly and avuncular octogenerian who pulled dollars from my young ears, not long before his death in the ’60s. It’s a mild obsession.

He was, I eventually learned, an eminent figure whose expert testimony had been solicited but then disallowed by the Scopes “Monkey Trial” judge in Dayton, TN in 1925. Dr. Winterton Curtis made a curiously strong impression on me in my earliest days and years. I’ve never quite understood why. Surely it’s a coincidence that I would grow up and  develop a fascination with the evolutionary view of life as part of its deepest meaning?

Well, my new-found binder includes a note from my late father. It betrays an almost mystical suspicion that something more than money was exchanged in those encounters with Dr. C.

“We lived with Dr. Curtis for three years, until my graduation from Veterinary School [at the University of Missouri-Columbia] in 1960. I have no clue if an elderly stranger can affect a small child, but I swear, Phil possesses many of the intellectual attributes of this grand old man. Phil, do you remember him ‘pulling money out of your ears’ and presenting you with it?”

I sure do, Dad. And I’m deeply grateful for the memory.

Advertisements

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: