(Pedagogy) Philosophy and Nonsense      
Thoughts about writing, education, and experience                                  Presented by Forrest D. Poston

The first goal of teaching is to strengthen, deepen and refine our intrinsic love of learning. All other goals and all methods must stem from that idea. Any that do not support that goal must at least be questioned and adjusted, if not eliminated. Otherwise, we are not teaching but training.


Writing and Education

Autobiography Challenge

Considering Conclusions

Considering Introductions

Four Meanings of Life

Godot and the Great Pumpkin

A Major is More Minor Than
You Think

The Poetry Process (A look at 4 versions of a poem.)

Thoughts About Picking a Major

Quick Points About Education

Quick Points About Writing

Reading Poetry and Cloud Watching

Revising Revision

Reviving Experience

Reviving Symbolism

Using an Audience


What Makes a Story True?

What's the Subject of This Class? (Being revised.)

Why Write?

Writing and Einstein (The Difference Between Information and Meaning)

Writing and the Goldilocks Dilemma

Links to Other Sites
Trumpet Player, USDA Approved                   by Forrest D. Poston

The guests were seated, and the music was playing. The day, the very moment, was here. As Ginny was about to start down the aisle on her father's arm, my future father-in-law whispered one last piece of advice. "You can still get out of this, you know."

To a young groom, Myron Schuster could be a bit intimidating, especially to this groom who was marrying Myron's only daughter. He dealt in precision, in hard facts on paper, and when he turned to humor, that also had precision and an edge that sliced the unwary. Then along came this head-in-the-clouds dreamer who was waiting at the end of the aisle, daring to take his daughter.

Fortunately, this dreamer had grown up with storytellers for whom the English language was a continuous game. In an earlier age, I might have been forced to prove myself with a sword, but now it was being able to parry and thrust with a pun that won, if not approval, at least grudging acceptance. Since I prefer to keep my bleeding on a strictly metaphorical level, I'm just as happy to keep my swords on that same level.

Ginny was able to walk her father down the aisle, although she claims that he was the one close to tears. Afterward, I had years to appreciate the father-in-law that came with the deal. Some trace of the intimidation may have remained, but our mutual respect was eventually built on more than humor. I also became increasingly aware of the contradictions.

The man whose job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture depended on a fine sense of detail, the man who so often seemed to take a hard line on the letter of the law, also seemed to be hiding another man. Perhaps it wasn't so surprising in this family when an older brother worked with computers in their early days and also consulted with police as a psychic. Contradiction and paradox just came standard.

A clue came from a casual comment from an old friend of the family. Myron was a jazzman. He had played trumpet in a jazz band in a distant youth. However, he also had a strong interest in a young lady named Gladys, whose family took a definitely dim view of such music and such musicians. Evidently, Myron had a choice to make.

He married the young lady, and the trumpet vanished so completely that none of the children ever knew it had existed. The rest of the story is lost because the comment came at Myron's funeral, and Gladys had died several years before. No one else seems to know or remember what happened or had even mentioned that bit of history.

Perhaps he simply outgrew that path or gave up a one dream for another. Perhaps he was so bad that the rest of the band asked him to quit, or perhaps a star was never quite born. We'll never know if he forgot the trumpet completely or still dreamed of hitting those high notes. Many of us have good reasons to be glad he chose what may be the road more travelled, particularly because he travelled it well.

At least some other things make a little more sense now, like the piano that was always there, and that underlying impression that music mattered, even if it wasn't directly emphasized. I think, just maybe, that it also explains a match that always seemed both perfect and absurd. The family may not have approved, and Myron gave up the trumpet, but when the time came to say I do, I think Gladys was speaking to her music man.

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Back to the Home Page

Other Essays and Poetry

Something Somewhat Vaguely Like a Resume

Being Like Children

The Blessing and the Blues

The Cat With a Bucket List

David and the Revelation

The Dawn, the Dark, and the Horse I Didn't Ride In On (an odd, meandering, semi-romantic story)

Ghost Dancer in the Twilight Zone

The Hair Connection and the Nature of Choices

The Mug, the Magic, and the Mistake

Trumpet Player, USDA Approved



Selected Poems

The Poetry Process

Writing by Current or Former Students

Ms. Write Meets Her Match in Jr. Ms. Write Now
by Heide Perry

I'll Just Have Cats
by Cara Hummel

Toys to Toys
by Allyson Bowlds

Scribbles and Bits

Links to Other Sites