Christmas Presence . . .
My good old Baylor friend and fellow NoZe Brother Tim Anderson, now living in Spain, sent me a Christmas card of the Three Kings of Orient, who are already on their way to see the Christ child bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh -- gift-wrapped, no less! -- but who always arrive a couple of years late with news that precipitates a bit of political instability and occasions a rather unsettling event, which you can read about in Matthew 2:1-18, but let's not go there today and thereby disturb the holiday spirit. Instead, enjoy the card, which depicts these Oriental kings as speaking Spanish, English, and French. Odd . . . though if one looks far enough eastward, the West appears. Anyway, Tim writes:
I hope all is going well with you all and the latest developments up North will have a positive effect. Here is our Christmas card, a rendition of the 3 Kings by Jan (4 yrs).Very lovely card! Thanks, Tim. Give my regards to the young artist, who has made East meet West.
I've been very busy this holiday season, but some of my editing work for journals is being appreciated, for I received an email yesterday evening with these words:
Every author thanks you for your proofreading . . . . [and] the author of . . . [one of the papers] said, "Your lovely English Studies prof had several very good suggestions to make, and the paper is considerably improved because of these. Please thank him for his work."Nice praise, especially the part about being "lovely" . . . but I guess that this writer has never seen a photo of me.
Similar thanks arrived from one of my students. There had been some plagiarism by too many students on the first draft of a paper, but in the spirit of Christmas, I decided to toss out that first grade (many D-minuses) and allow all students in the class a second chance by having only their second draft count, which the class received as good tidings of great joy, a joy enhanced at seeing their final grades -- at least for this student:
I checked my grade this afternoon, and I was surprised at the result . . . . I don't know how to thank you for the final grade. I really couldn't expect that high grade. I got D- for the first draft because of my fault, and I was totally confused during the end of the semester. I'm really happy that you forgave my fault, and I could correct my essay the right way.Goodness! Who knew that a final grade could occasion a religious experience? Well, Christmas is nigh upon us, so miracles do happen . . .
I'm not a Christian, but I really thank God that I could attend your class. Your class was the toughest class for my entire undergraduate course, but, it was also the most meaningful class that I learned the real joy of studying novel.
I already told in my course evaluation, but I want to tell you again. I really thank you for all your kind and patient help for my essay. I will keep the lesson that I learned in mind.
Hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy new year!!
[UPDATE: From Tim Anderson, a report as of December 21, 2011: "Jan was tickled pink to see his drawing on the internet!!!"]