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August 2006 RVC Column

(Written and posted 7/6/06)

Northwest Passages

RVC Column for August Newsletters in Region 8
by John Recht, Region 8 RVC

As a child in grammar school, I vividly remember watching the clock on the wall, waiting for the big hand to tick off another minute. It was excruciating, especially around three in the afternoon on a day in June with stifling sunlight slanting across my desk, adding its heat to the oppression as I awaited the bell of freedom. There was absolutely nothing to do. I had long ago read every book in my desk, and it was already too late to avoid another check for bad behavior on my report card under the heading, "Keeps profitably busy." All there was to do was to watch the clock's slow hand, and to see if I could hold my breath for the hopelessly interminable time between ticks.

That was then. Now, minutes fly by practically unnoticed, and hours slide easily by. Just like Alice in Through the Looking Glass, I must run as fast as I can to stay where I am, and to get anywhere else I have to run much faster than that. Still, it seems an almost effortless race these days. Altogether it's a superb time in my life. One of my greatest pleasures is to share these happy days with my family and friends, and after a year on the American Mensa Committee, I now have many more friends than ever before. I wish to note here that I am extremely pleased, and very grateful, to have had the opportunity to serve as Regional Vice Chair for Region 8, working side-by-side with so many other people who make this the grand society that it is.

Even so, right at this particular moment it feels a bit strange for me, and doubtless for many of us who regularly attend Annual Gatherings. In most years, right about now we would be reflecting on the many wonderful times we just had, and the many friendships we renewed, as another spectacular AG reached its mellow and bittersweet conclusion and we all went our separate ways. The 4th of July came this year, the fireworks were there, and they were as exciting as ever, but there was something in the air that was missing, and it was this: I missed the proximity, the presence, of all of the people who have made Mensa my family of choice. And for once, the 4th of July was not the peak of my summer's delight, but just a foreshadowing of the greater delights to come at the World Gathering.

So, if you will, please join me in watching the clock, and let us count down together as the last few grains slide through the glass until the time arrives for us to come together in our greatest numbers ever. There will be innumerable sweet diversions and happy surprises awaiting our discovery in Orlando, and no amount of poring over the schedules on the Web site at http://wg06.us.mensa.org will uncover them all. I will be there experiencing and exploring (and, safe to say, going to a lot of meetings) in the midst of it all. Next month, I'll tell you something about what I found. But what I would like, most of all, is for you to be there too. So come if you can, and if you do, look for me...I'll be happy to share the moment!