Every so often after I’ve spent hours out in the studio painting, there’s a message waiting on the machine when I walk into the study. Hit the button– I hear the tentative young male or female voice on the recording and then a rush of words.

“Professor? You won’t remember me. I took your class…” in years gone by, ten or more, and took the time now, to call. For some reason this is the day for this spate of words, with its embarrassed misspeaks, an offered gratitude.

“Your enthusiasm meant so much. I’ve always remembered how you took that plant and broke its pot on the desk, scattering dirt all over, to prove the point that there was more to a plant underground than on top.”

I’m smiling, listening.

“I have never forgotten how you declared you never expected us to believe everything you said, but that you did expect us to know what you had said. I became a scientist because of your class.”

Some days when I’m listening, he or she says the next wonderful thing.

“I became a teacher because of you.”

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