Many things are not as they appear
|I vividly remember the first time I encountered my favorite professor. Nervously looking around the classroom, I saw the golden retriever first. Her coat was shiny and she appeared to be well fed. She walked into the classroom and I saw the harness strapped to her middle; it looked like a saddle made for dogs. I suddenly noticed a rough hand gripping the harness and slightly clumsy feet following the dog.
The chit-chat had ceased and the silence was almost deafening. We all stared as he walked through the doorway. Carrying his worn-out leather briefcase, I could see him counting the steps to his desk. He must have done this hundreds of times before. The briefcase made a swoosh sound, as he slid it across the surface of the desk and commanded, “Samantha, sit.” He balanced himself perfectly as he sat at the corner of his desk; his right foot dangled slightly and the left foot firmly planted on the floor.
In an operatic baritone voice, he said, “Good Afternoon! If you did not sign up for History 101 you’re in the wrong class. I’m Professor Brown and I will be your instructor this semester.”
I had to hold back a laugh when he said his name. He was brown…all over. His trousers were brown leisure polyester and a few inches too short. The shirt he wore was a generic short-sleeved button down with strategically placed pockets. On his feet was a pair of comfortably worn brown suede loafers. Surprisingly, beneath his black horned-rimmed glasses were his spectacular eyes that danced a curious waltz; they were milk chocolate, just like his voice.
Mesmerized, I listened as he introduced Samantha as his seeing-eye dog. “Just in case none of you noticed, I’m blind.” The class erupted in nervous laughter. Samantha’s head rose when she heard her name and keenly looked around the room measuring up this semester’s students. She gave a soft whimper of approval and set her head gently down on her paws.
Periodically, he reached behind his right ear and adjusted a barely visible hearing aid. “I can hear, you see, but only when one of you talks at a time.” He informed the class that Samantha had been trained to bark the row number if a student raised their hand. As a demonstration, he asked the class for a volunteer. A young man who looked skeptical raised his hand with a sheepish grin. To our bewilderment, Samantha voiced three quick barks indicating that indeed the person raising their hand sat in the third row. We were all convinced.
That settled, Professor Brown passionately told us that History was his first love, aside from Samantha of course. His voice created a relaxed canvas for us to imagine the events he described. Melodically, he transformed the classroom into a stage for historical struggle and strife. Remembering his voice even now, there is a song in my heart as I recall his enthusiasm for history.