October 11-14 Busy Weekend

September 25, 2018

There is a four day period coming up in my original hometown, Nashville, Tennessee, that hits on all three food groups. Thursday, October 11, my high school alumni association is celebrating the 80th year of the school. (The fact that it has not been a high school since 1968 and is now a middle school does not deter this group, but it does account for the dwindling membership numbers.) Friday morning my wife and I will attend a brunch for the "Quinks" at Vanderbilt. A Quink is someone who graduated 50 years or more ago and its membership tends to remain balanced as the newly eligible alumns replace deceased members. But, the nature of the group changes with each year as Vanderbilt transitions from an all white, mostly male, school I attended in the 1950s where practically all the students came from the Southeastern United States to a diverse enrollment of all colors and nationalities from all over the world, equally divided between males and females. (This is not exactly a development many of my classmates approve of.) 

 

As much as I would like to stay for the other activities on Friday which consist of several interesting seminars and presentations on a wide range of topics (none athletic), I am committed to being downtown that afternoon at the Southern Festival of Books. Nancy and I have been attending the Southern Festival for the last 20+ years and the second weekend in October is always cleared for that trip. She tells her friends and family not to plan any weddings or funerals that weekend because she won't be there! Usually the Vanderbilt Reunion is on a different weekend and there is no conflict. This year there is and the Festival wins. 

 

For me here is nothing more enjoyable than being around a group of people for three days who have a love of books as the only obvious thing in common. For the most part they are a pleasant lot and there are a lot of authors and presentations I'm not interested in---mostly topics I may have mentioned before, e.g. cookbooks, science fiction, poetry. But, there are plenty of other choices and this year as usual there are people I would like to hear scheduled at the same time in different rooms. I do this to myself because I volunteer to be a host/moderator at sessions. It makes for an interesting time when I get a request at the last minute, like an hour before the session starts, but my ego tells me I can handle a situation even when I don't really know what I am talking about. Fortunately authors like to talk about their books and that's what people came to hear, so I could probably recite Mary had a little lamb and get by with it. My favorite experience when the author had written a book on Octopuses (or whatever the plural of octopus is). It turned out to be no problem because he had gone to high school in Nashville (I also knew his mother) and the people who came were all high school buddies who probably didn't care if he said Mary had a little lamb either! Actually it was an interesting presentation and I found that the octopus in its many variations is an interesting animal. 

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Whitworth Stokes

Whitworth Stokes

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