Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Last evening, & 21 years ago

It was twenty-one years ago. . .

A long time. Two decades plus a year. My adult children were little kids back then. But. . . before going back that far, here's last evening, Monday, 12 January A.D. 2009.

I was on the Vanderbilt University campus at my fraternity's chapter meeting. Lambda Chi Alpha didn't have a chapter at VU while I was here. But while I lived in San Antonio (2002-mid'08) I got quite involved in the LCA alumni association and in participating as an alumnus guest in the three chapters there (UTSA, St Mary's and Incarnate Word). And I've wanted to keep this participation going now that I'm here in Tennessee and LCA has a chapter at VU, Gamma-Delta Zeta (we call our chapters zetas). The teachings of the fraternity and its rituals are firmly based on Christian teachings and on the Bible -- indeed, these helped yours truly to understand those teaching more clearly

So last evening I felt blessed to be in the chapter house, when following the business meeting the chapter conducted the Associate Member ceremony for 24 young men who have chosen to associate with us. I was already impressed that there were 24! By contrast my home chapter, Epsilon-Gamma Zeta at Idaho, associated only 18 in our largest class. And as I heard the obligation recited I sort of got choked up, remembering the evening in fall semester of 1972 I had said the same obligation in Epsilon-Gamma Zeta's house in Moscow, Idaho! As I heard various officers explain the first couple of our symbols to those 24 new associates I considered how I could have been more diligent about living up to those ideals inculcated by Lambda Chi Alpha.

Afterward I was waiting to catch the bus on West End in front of the Carmichael Towers hi-rise dorms (the LCA house is the old Gamma Phi Beta house on Kensington directly behind the Towers). Last evening I waited right there at West End and Twenty-fourth Ave.

It was twenty-one years ago. . . .

Yep! This was kind of eerie to be thinking back on the most harrowing experience of my life, and how it occurred 21 years ago, and a few days, at this very spot! In the middle of the day I was crossing West End right here, and got hit by a car. My right shin bones broke, the impact threw me thru the air some 40 feet, and I came down on my head. So I suffered internal head trauma, and was in a coma three days and once I came to I was recuperating in VU Hospital and then Baptist Rehab several weeks.

Of course, as I've mentioned many times in telling my story to others, I remember nothing about the accident. I don't even remember how I got across the campus to this place. My last memory beforehand is of meeting with Latin American Librarian Ms. Paula Covington in the Central Library across Vandy's campus, to discuss career options and the future.

It was twenty-one years ago. . . .

I hope you don't mind my sharing this with you, dear reader. Please know that it doesn't frighten me to think about it, it simply makes me cautious about jaywalking or about crossing a busy street without heeding a pedestrian walk light. I'm told me that because of my experience the city put in the traffic signal there. Good for them!

Certainly I wouldn't want any of my fraternity brothers or any other Vandy student to go thru what I went thru, twenty-one years ago!

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