Memories of Awe Episode 13

As Liz prepared for her interview today, she recalled that Professor McKown had promised her a memory associated with student accommodations. She was looking forward to this interview.

LJ: Last time you mentioned you had another memory associated with a student accommodation. I’m anxious to hear about it.

KMcK:  First let me tell you about Lilly. She came to campus to study political science. She was also a very accomplished clarinet player. In fact, she was the All-State clarinet player in high school. She wanted to continue playing clarinet in college and had tried out for the marching band – but there was a problem.

LJ: I can’t believe that the band wouldn’t accept women.

KMcK: Actually, we only allowed women in the band five years before Lilly arrived on campus. The problem was that she was blind.

LJWhat happened?

KMcK:  This was before the Americans with Disabilities Act so the University had no requirement to let her try out. The band director gave her a chance, and she made the band.

She became the darling of the entire state. We’ve always prided ourselves on being determined, and she was a great role model. National news networks even did stories featuring her.

LJThat’s quite a memory of awe.

KMcK:  But there’s more. One day, she took a wrong turn and got out of formation with the band. She was going one way, and the band was marching another way. There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium. Then one of her bandmates marched to her while still playing and brought her back to the formation.

LJI can’t imagine a greater example of moral beauty.

KMcK:  I got to know Lilly later that year. The Americans with Disabilities Act had just been enacted and the University needed to see what it needed to do to become in compliance. I was asked to serve on a task force to check out buildings. Lilly was also on that task force, and she and I were given several buildings to evaluate.

I remember that Lilly saw much more than I did in our review of such things as door widths, curb heights, and other things that could be problematic.

Then we went to the greenhouse. Lilly had never been around plants so she asked if I could help her identify them by touch. I’m pretty good with plants, but I learned more in the two hours we spent in the greenhouse than I ever knew before.

LJ: What a great memory.

KMcK: Of all the memories of awe, that afternoon ranks the highest. And to top it off, she gave me the greatest compliment of my career.

LJ: What was it?

KMcK: She said I was the best walker she ever had.

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“Sight is what you see with your eyes, vision is what you see with your mind.” – Robert Kiyosaki (entrepreneur and author)

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