Despite the minor inconveniences caused by the late arrival of our speaker (after airline delays in Detroit), the whole evening was a delight. Set in the beautiful Memphis Botanical Gardens, I had a great time both privately and publically. The six of us from Greenville seemed to be glad for a chance to rest from all the mental gymnastics. Watching Cathy Holder and Jackie Mobley attempt to take a photograph was worth more than I have paid for some comedy clubs! I hope they finally got one that helps them remember how great a time we had.
Andrew Kern always does a great job with these banquets, teaching me a great deal about how to honor and celebrate someone with dignity. The Mont Blanc pen is always a great introduction to the speaker. Dr. Hawley’s address was particularly poignant to me as it was from a Headmaster to a headmaster. As I sit now and try to remember the specifics and recreate his outline, I am at a loss because the evening and his address were not about neat outlines and spiffy quotes. It was about a life celebrated. That life has been around teen boys who become men. In all his various duties at University School, it has all been about boys becoming men. Having read his delightful and compelling Boys will be Men, I was prepped for this talk well. His heart and poetic bent were in rare form. We cannot achieve perfection in this world, but we can see snatches of it, moments of beauty, throughout life. I think that is as close as I can come to writing a synopsis of this beautiful speech.