Once in a blue moon

by chuckofish

Well, last week was a busy one, full of travel on airplanes (up and down eight times!), rental cars and GPS apps, delays, and the kindness of strangers.

I have to say, I was impressed with the University of Alabama who sponsored the Southern Regional Conference on Learning in Retirement. They put on a very good conference.

The first evening they held a reception for us at the


which looks like this on the outside in the fall


when this picture (from the internet) was taken. In the summer it looks quite different as it is deep in the lush Alabama piney woods, beautifully landscaped and really breath-taking. I walked through the halls dumbfounded by the Westervelt American art collection, one of the largest collections in the country! I snapped some pictures on my phone, but there was just so much to see!

IMG_1278-1IMG_1283IMG_1284IMG_1288IMG_1296FullSizeRender-1IMG_1281-1IMG_1286IMG_1287 IMG_1282-1Well, you get the idea. I was in heaven. (And we got to drink wine while we viewed the art!) I mean there wasn’t just one John Singer Sargent–there were three! Everything from Edward Hopper to Jamie Wyeth, Mary Cassatt, Carl Wimar and Albert Bierstadt, Charles Russell, and on and on. So much more impressive than Crystal Bridges in Arkansas! And the setting was lovely.

The following night we were treated to a reception at the Alabama Museum of Natural History on the U of A campus.




They do love their corinthian columns in Alabama. Again we were treated to “a taste of Alabama”–fried green tomatoes, fried catfish, crab cakes, bread pudding, and so on. Pretty delish.

In between meals, the actual conference was really good too–lots of good ideas from people who do what I do. The highlight for me was the talk by former Alabama defensive back Jeremiah Castille. Castille was on the last team coached by Bear Bryant.


He was a pallbearer at Bryant’s funeral. Castille played for Alabama from 1979–1982, recording a school record 16 interceptions and making the College Football All-American Team in 1982. In the 1982 Liberty Bowl, Castille intercepted three passes in a 21–15 win and was selected as the game’s MVP. He is a minister now and a motivational speaker. Much influenced by Coach Bryant, he is on a mission to influence others. He encouraged us to “finish strong”. For seniors this is an excellent message!

Even though I got home at 4:00 a.m. Thursday night/Friday morning after 14 hours in various airports, I’m glad I went. I’m glad I seized the day. Funnily enough, I met another woman (my counterpart at Union College) who expressed the same fears as I–can I find my way from Birmingham, AL to Tuscaloosa in a rented car?–who was encouraged by her children to do it. “You can do it, Mom!” And we did, thank you. High fives all around.

And did you notice Thursday night there was a full moon? It was the “blue moon”–an additional full moon that appears in a subdivision of a year: either the third of four full moons in a season, or a second full moon in a month of the common calendar. Thus the expression, “once in a blue moon”.

Now it is Monday. Have a good week back at the salt mines! And remember: For God did not give you a spirit of timidity, but one of power and of love and of self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)