A Departing Pastor’s Boxes of Awards
Do we treasure friends the most as they arrive in our lives, or as they depart?
If friends of mine would move away from (or to) Davis every weekend, I would be in much better physical shape, for lifting another man’s possessions for a couple hours will strengthen both one’s arms and one’s sense of gratitude.
Such has been the case the last two weekends in a row, for first our closest neighbors, Erik and Nate, and then my favorite Davis pastor, Bill Habicht, have packed up their PODs and their moving trucks and moved to the east coast.
While Boston (Erik and Nate) is right on the water, Raleigh is more than a two-hour drive to the nearest North Carolina beach. Some westerners think of all of those original colonies as being right on the “east coast” in the same way that many people back east think that Californians live along Baywatch beaches. I’m sure that I’m not the only Davisite who doesn’t own a surfboard.
Although I feel more toned after all the boxes that I’ve hauled recently, I’ve certainly lost more than I’ve gained this month. I will miss my neighbors! These three gentlemen greeted me with a smile or a hug, a bit of news or a cheeky remark. When I thanked Erik for the huge box of DVDs that showed up at our door the day before I drove him and Nate to the airport for the last time, he wrote back that they meant to pack them in the POD, but somehow they had been overlooked. “Our fumble is your fortune,” Erik said.
Now I have a bunch of action films to share with Truman and, after we’ve watched them, to share with lovers of cinematic swag once the in-person pub quizzes restart in downtown Davis. Meanwhile, I look across my driveway wistfully at the empty house, missing the friends who would often give me rides home after the big show on Monday evenings. At least Erik and Nate subscribe to this newsletter and to the quizzes themselves via Patreon. I look forward to continuing to entertain them remotely, while they also find entertainment in Red Sox games and a highly-functional public transportation system.
I’ve known Bill even longer, and watched with admiration how he was recognized for what he did for our city. Bill had an entire box in the garage marked “awards.” You might know that Bill was the first recipient of the Jay Gerber Young Community Leader Award, created by the Sunrise Rotary Club. He won another award from the City of Davis for “Excellence in Community Involvement” in 2014. You’d think the other friends helping Bill move boxes on moving day would show him more respect, but one of them said that one box is not enough to hold all his awards. The other said that he has had to rent a storage facility for all the awards he has won. Such sass!
Such problem these pillars of the community have. I suppose this ribbing would have been funnier if it weren’t true: each of these gentlemen has won more awards than I have. One thinks of the time that soap opera actress Susan Lucci hosted Saturday Night Live in 1990, and the entire opening monologue was about how everyone had an Emmy but Lucci herself, the poor dear.
As university faculty, we are used to losing people to bigger (if not better) places. My student Melissa left Davis for Oxford, and then took her doctorate to peace-keeping efforts in Afghanistan. I wish her success! My student Lauren recently set up shop in Santa Cruz, where she is conducting her own research. My current protégé Josue hasn’t left town yet, choosing instead to publish articles, such as this one about Yolo County food insecurity in today’s Davis Vanguard.
Universities and great cities like Davis launch rising stars. Junior astronomers, those of us on the ground wave goodbye to them from the launching pad, all of us wiser and stronger for having known them during their stay.
In addition topics raised above, tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature question on the following: Famous Bostonians, the names of Kings, banks, strings of losses, governors, keeping up with the Jones families, Detroit, hyacinths, Europe, podcasts, the absence of mutants, audiobooks, the stain of slavery, peace prizes, stage names, news shows, wonderful men, camels, cars that need to be filled more, frightening animals, retail stores, headphones, crowns, K as in Kate, Oscar winners, resistances, successful singers, catch phrases, current events, and Shakespeare.
Thursday night the great poet, musician, and retired Design professor DR Wagner will be reading from his new four-volume book of poetry. Join us at the Natsoulas Gallery in Davis at 7PM on March 15th!
Thanks to all my regular supporters, including the teams that contribute the most every week: The Outside Agitators, The Original Vincibles, Quizimodo, and Bono’s Pro Bono Oboe Bonobos. Many other teams also subscribe, meaning that they get to read the entire quiz and all the answers every week! Check us out on Patreon.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. Here are four questions from last week’s quiz:
1. Chicago Statues. Last week, a Chicago committee revealed a new statue paying tribute to an anti-lynching and suffrage activist, making it the city’s first sculpture honoring a Black woman. Name the subject of this honor.
2. Science. Now eradicated, what was the target of the first vaccine?
3. Books and Authors. Who co-wrote the current best-selling political thriller, The President’s Daughter, with James Patterson?
4. Sports. First name Dennis, what former Oakland Athletic became the first of two pitchers in MLB history to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career?
P.P.S. “Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” Tennessee Williams