What a great pleasure to open the site on a pleasant sunday morning and find a message from someone I'd no news of for the last 24 years!
But before talking about it I need to confess about a long period in my deep, dark past. Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea, I was teaching at the universite de nice, right there on the southern coast of france. It was a lovely time, I could literally look out on the Mediterranean from my classroom windows. My roommate was a colleague, an englishman who played the bass in clubs on the weekend. We all had different lives then: painters and philosophers and journalists (all of whom are treated much differently in Europe than here). I won't say what I was doing, but trust me on this one: I was the most disreputable of the bunch...
So anyway, maybe ten days or two weeks ago, I was standing at my lathe, my mind wandering as usual, and for some reason thought about those long distant times. Aiden was struggling in his musical ambitions, and one of the people we all hung out with was Neil, a very accomplished and respected saxophone player... accomplished enough to have attracted a girlfriend of stunning charm and beauty. I was trying to help Aiden, and I pulled Neil aside one day, and asked him flat out if Aiden had real potential in his art (what I know about music could fit in a thimble). And Neil said to me that yes, Aiden had talent and was working hard, but sometimes had a tendency to play 5 notes when three would do.
Why I remembered that particular moment, standing there one late evening with the sawdust flying around me... well, who can say? But this morning, Neil wrote me a PM. He is now the headmaster of a school in Spain. He's going to laugh like heck when he hears I'm Director of Academic Technology at the Catholic University of America, in Washington DC, a mere four org levels from the Pope (can you hear the howls of laughter all the way from Spain as he reads that one? As I said, I was the most disreputable of the group. There's a relevant quote from english literature that describes me:
"He's *outwardly* respectable. (They say he cheats at cards).
But his photo will not be found in any file at Scotland Yard."
So here I am, on the eastern shore of another continent, waiting for Neil to chime in and tell us he's a woodworker now too. I know we have another member in Spain. If he does chime in, I hope you'll all join me in welcoming him to this group... as long as he doesn't tell too many tales of my disrespectable past...