Retired . . . to a Sports Car

With my own retirement drawing near, I wonder about the situation of retired colleagues, friends who began teaching here when I did and have had the good sense to retire before me. One of these is Michael Patrick, Associate Professor Emeritus of English. Mike retired nearly twenty years ago. When I asked for news for the department newsletter, Mike replied with a generous amount of new, more than would fit into Panoply. For the interest of those who know Mike, perhaps took classes with him, here is a slightly edited version of what he sent.
Currently, he and his wife, Sheena, live in Fairhope, Alabama. Mike has continued scholarly activities focused the book,

“And zero at the bone”

The title phrase comes from a poem Emily Dickinson wrote about suddenly encountering a snake while walking in tall grass. It’s always resonated with me because I had the same experience more than once, encountering a variety of snakes, including rattlers, in the grasses of the Kansas Flint Hills.

“Zero at the bone” also seems appropriate to the week ending today. We’ve had some very cold temperatures accompanied by dangerous wind chills. At the same time, this week opened the spring semester here at Missouri S&T. Starting a new semester is somewhat like taking off in a jetliner: there are some jolts and shakes, a bit of nervousness, but also the excitement of beginning a new journey, of meeting new people.

Speaking for myself, the new semester is off to a good start. I’m teaching World Literature I, from the beginnings to the Renaissance. The beginnings go way back to Sumerian and Akkadian syllabary script inscribed on clay tablets, Gilgamesh, in other words. This is one of my favorite courses, so it’s appropriate as the last course I expect to teach at S&T.

My retirement is scheduled for 1 July 2009, so this is not only my last semester to teach but also my last as chair. I hope to post more frequent entries here in these last few months, so come on back!