Thursday, December 27, 2018

oops! i did it again

Last year, I swore it would never happen again. And it has happened.

Several years ago -- If i really tried, I could give you an exact number, but, for the purpose of our tale "several" will do.

So, several years ago, our English-speaking church (Costalegre Community Church) started a series of cultural awareness classes in January and February. The first year err had a group discussion revolving around Sarah Lanier's Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures.

The lessons in her book encouraged the church board to set up an annual series of lectures centered on helping northerners better understand the Mexican culture that surrounds us every day.

We have heard about the Mexican medical system. Local lore from amateur historians. The political system from politicians. And discussions on immigration, volcanoes, and ecology. Spanish language. Plus much more.

For three years, I presented lectures on various aspects of Mexican history. A quick survey. A discussion of the formation of the Mestizo Myth. The centrifugal forces affecting both the Mexican nation and state. All complete with props and costume changes. It has given me an opportunity to put some of my undergraduate Latin American studies to good purpose.

Presenting has been enjoyable. But I have had greater joy in listening to the other presentations. In those several years, I have learned a lot about my neighbors.

Last year I promised my family I would not do another presentation. To prepare for the lecture, I spent over 100 hours putting together at least six drafts and countless rehearsals. For two full weeks, I was so engrossed with the project that I developed the charm of J.M.W. Turner. So, I resolved last year was my farewell performance.

And that resolution had all the strength of a tower of aspic. It took just one request this week, and I said "yes." I think I know why.

Thirty years as a trial and appellate attorney honed certain skills. I can argue with conviction on any position -- and then switch sides without missing a beat. It was a skill I learned at my grandfather's dinner table.

That is the positive spin on what motivates me. At my core, I am a ham. As is every trial and appellate attorney. We are show horses who feel purposeless without an occasional show.

It turns out that playing the big room at the Oregon Supreme Court is no more satisfying than talking with a congregated group of tourists and expatriates under our church palapa. So, here I am again. Getting ready to go into confinement for two weeks while I prepare my lecture.

And what will it be this year? My topic is "who is that guy in your pocket? mexican currency and history."

If you would like to attend, I will be speaking at 5 PM on 10 January in the Costalegre Community Church. Of course, even if you do not attend, that is the time and place.

It will be good to see some of you again and to meet others for the first time.

Who knows? Maybe this will be my last year. 

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