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Monday, July 2, 2012

First-Year University: Foresters Ball

“Do ya get this stuff? I mean, what the heck’s he talkin’ ‘bout anyway?” Sitting next to me in the small amphitheater was a fellow-physics student sufferer.

“Uh, well, so far I do.” I smiled, watching his one brow arch as his head tilted just a little to the right. “No, really. I figure it’ll get worse; but, for now, I’m following. Wanna review later?” Both of us looked down at our notebooks open on the attached half-desk, as the professor began writing on the board as he spoke. Scribbling rapidly in my notebook, I couldn’t help but notice that the young man was just staring straight ahead, his pen poised but not moving. Boy, this poor guy’s really lost, I thought, while forcing myself to focus on the action at the front of the room. Nothing more was whispered between us until the bell rang. I had another class across campus so no time to tarry here. Stuffing pen and notebook in my bag, I zipped my jacket and slung the strap over my shoulder, turning to start up the steps adjacent to my seat.

“Hey, wait a minute, can ya?”

“Actually, I can’t wait but you can walk with me, if you like. I’ve got another class in the Health Science building at 11 so I need to move it. Sorry.” I was already coming close to running up the steps, clinging to the wall so as not to knock into the students lingering near the edge of the desks. The boy was hot on my heels, struggling to hear and be heard over the din of student conversations; which, you can be sure, had nothing at all to do with physics.

“Okay, I don’t have a class next hour; I’ll walk with you.” If he thought I’d slow down once outside the building, he was sorely disappointed. At least the pace would warm us up on this freezing winter’s day. “You asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing physics notes sometime? Did ya really mean that?” Scrolling through my mental Daily Planner, I quickly searched for a free period of time.

“Sure. What’s your day look like? I’ve got a class after this one but my Chemistry lab time isn’t until 3 o’clock so we could get together before that. One o’clock clear for you?” We had reached the steps of the building while he tried to recall his own schedule and I started up. Opening the heavy door, I turned to see if he was still with me; he hadn’t responded.

“Uh, yeah, 1 o’clock’s fine. Where?”

“Meet me in front of the library and we’ll go from there,” I called over my shoulder as I entered the building and headed for the stairway that would take me to the third floor classroom. I had a whopping thirty seconds to get there. As I rounded the last turn and started up the final rung of steps, I wondered if the guy would be at the library or had missed the place in the noise of the students rushing the doors. No problem, he was there waiting… and shivering.

“In the pressure of trying to hear the place I should meet you, I totally forgot what time you’d suggested. I’ve been out here for about an hour.” No wonder he was shivering; it must’ve been 15-below-zero.

“Wow, sorry. Well, let’s go get you a cup of coffee to warm you up and thaw out those brain cells.” His smile was his only answer as we turned around, heading for the Student Union Building.

Over coffee, I learned he was a Forestry major, named John Mark. Actually, folks usually chose one of the two names but I elected to use both. At that time, the curriculum was a 5-year degree program and loaded with more math and science courses than the average outdoorsman might have anticipated. John Mark was, certainly, in that group of overwhelmed first-year students.

He really did want to study; the request to review notes was not the usual come-on guys used to pick up girls. As the weeks passed, both of us improved our understanding of the mathematical brain-crunching subject known as Physics. We also came to know each other a lot better, too, and enjoyed spending time together.

“Would ya like to go to the Foresters Ball with me? I should warn you, though, I’m not much of a dancer.” It was a bit more sure that he’d not stand me up, as Chris had done; but I’d heard some pretty wild rumors of what happens at this particular event the Forestry Department puts on each year.

“Uh, hmmm, are the rumors of this ‘Ball’ true? It sounds pretty… uh, wild to me.” His hardy guffawing confirmed that he knew exactly to what I was referring.

“As I understand it from the guys, it’s as wild as you want it to be. I’m a rather conservative guy… though I could be coached, if you’re of a mind to help me learn more than physics?” Now, it was my turn to explode with laughter.

Though I had several lovely formal dresses with matching silk pumps; for the Foresters Ball, I really didn’t have a thing to wear! I found my way to the local Salvation Army Thrift store to find just the right outfit. As with all young ladies going to a Ball, I wanted to fit in.

****First-Year University: Foresters Ball, Conclusion… Coming Tomorrow (weather permitting)

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