For some reason, this morning I was recalling the Christmas season while we were at the Citadel and how our Christmas traditions impacted my whole life, and impacted it profoundly. I recall that we sold ourselves to the “knobs” in a parody of Saturnalia in order to raise funds to share with the city’ orphans and orphanages, and I recall the visits, especially to the orphanages set aside for black children, and how grateful and warm they were, and how much more I think we appreciated the privilege of sharing with them than they welcomed our gifts. Not that they were not appreciated! But it was we who came out ahead I think. It turned us into real human beings. In my case, it evaporated any vestiges of the racism in which we were raised. I hope the tradition prevails there but I tend to doubt it, although I’m pretty sure it is imbedded in each and every one of our hearts.
We each recall many things about our times at our alma mater, and there are many, many things that bear recalling. It was a very full season of years, and it certainly made us who we are. But which of us would have thought way back then that love would be its principle legacy, love for each other and for all of our fellow alumni, love of truth as something tangible, and of honor, and of our fellow men and women, and of the world in which we live, and of tradition, and of the future we hope to bequeath to our posterity. The world is vastly changed from what it was then, in some ways, for the better, but in too many ways for the worst. Polarization and greed have become the rule and empathy the exception. But to some extent, I think we are immune from that.
Just wanted to share with those I most respect.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.