Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–20 February 2017

Discussion, instead of addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting and proceeding towards the intended topic of the Second Shepherds’ Play, moved towards concerns of the essays following assessment of the PoEss RV during the past weekend.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PoEss FV (online before class begins on 24 February 2017)
  • DrEss RV (online before class begins on 3 March 2017)
  • DrEss FV (online before class begins on 10 March 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000 in Weir 111. The class roster listed 20 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Fifteen attended, verified informally. Student participation was subdued. Two students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100 in Weir 111. The class roster listed 19 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Sixteen attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Pronghorn, Chapter 34: More Calls

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

After Asa’s father left the house, Asa looked back over the list of job applications he had put in recently. The ones in Pronghorn are a bit too new to worry about yet, and the Tuesday Storm’s thrown everything off, anyway, he thought. Still, there’re a few I probably ought to check on. So he began pulling up websites, fingers flying over the keyboard, entering his username and password on each–always “AsaPemewan” and a variation of “8Chars!,” respectively, with the character after the exclamation point cycling from one through nine to zero and back again.

The results were disappointing. An inventory position that would have had him driving around to small towns and highway gas stations, counting candy bars and quarts of 10W-30 motor oil showed “Does not meet minimum hiring requirements.” It had advertised only needing a high school diploma or GED, no experience required. And with a doctorate, I don’t meet minimum requirements. Great.

A marketing position, the kind that has people standing in big-box stores and hocking cell phone plans or satellite television service, had asked for much the same: high school diploma and a willingness to learn. “Position  filled,” it read, and Asa knew he had not been made the offer.

A test-development position, one that had asked applicants to have terminal degrees in “English, history, philosophy, mathematics, political science, and other fields,” as well as teaching experience–And I’ve only worked in the classroom for years, Asa thought–showed an in-browser message. “Thank you for applying. After careful consideration, we have determined that you do not meet our needs at this time. Please keep looking at our job postings for positions that might be a better fit for you. Good luck in your continued search.”

An administrative assistant job in Kerr County was also on the list. It had asked for someone who could type 25 words per minute, run standard office equipment, handle word processing and spreadsheets, and offer a pleasant demeanor in customer service.. It also showed “Position cancelled” on the company website. At least they didn’t hire somebody else, thought Asa as he navigated to the next hiring site.

Another administrative assistantship that Asa had applied for, one looking for someone with the same general qualifications–with the addition of “go-getter” the only difference–showed “Application under review” and a last update of a month gone. Asa checked the location and the time, noting that it was in business hours. The call went to voice mail, and Asa left his name and number. He also said “I’m calling to follow up on an application for an administrative assistant position I put in a while back. The website still lists it as under review, but any update would be welcome.”

The next position on his list was one that had taken a resume through email. It was for another administrative assistant position, and Asa dialed the number. A human voice greeted him, and Asa said “Yes, hi, this is Asa Pemewan. I applied for an administrative assistant job with you a couple of weeks ago, and I was calling to follow up.”

“Oh, yeah, we hired somebody else.”

“I see. Is there something I should have done differently when I put in for the job?”

“Nah. We had a lot of really good candidates. You just didn’t read as being a good fit.”

“I see. Well, thanks for your time.”

“No problem.” The line went dead, and Asa shook his head. He also dialed the next number on his list. It was for a position as a library clerk, and when the call was answered, Asa gave his introduction again: “Hi, I’m Asa Pemewan. I applied for a library clerk position with you a couple of weeks back, and I was calling to follow up on it.”

“Well, sir, the person who handles hiring is out today. But if you’ll give me your number, I’ll leave a message for her, and I’m sure she’ll call you back tomorrow or the next day.”

“Thank you, ma’am; that’d be fine,” said Asa, and he gave her the number. The voice on the other end of the line confirmed it, and after a brief politeness, the line went dead again.

As Asa went along, he continued to make notes on his list. I don’t know why I keep doing this, he thought. I suppose it’s so I remember what I said to whom and when, but looking back over dozens of failed attempts is less a record of progress and more a litany of failures. And I don’t need to have another one of those; I’ve enough for a catechism and a half already.

Asa sighed heavily and muttered to himself “Why do I have to keep doing this? It’s not doing any good, so far as I can see.” But he bent back to the work, checking up on applications he had filled out and sent off in the hopes of finding some job, any job, that would offer him full-time work.

One phone number had been disconnected.

Another was answered brusquely. “We hired somebody else. You’ve got how many degrees? We need an entry-level worker.”

Yet another was more polite. “You’re entirely too qualified for the job. We’d never be able to offer you what you’re worth.” Asa replied to it “I’m happy to work my way up from an entry-level spot and learn how the company works.” “But we’ve already filled the position, sir, so there’s nothing we can do.”

Still another was somewhat incredulous. “I can’t imagine why someone with your credentials would want to work here instead of teaching.” “As to that, I’d been thinking that a switch might be good” replied Asa. “Okay, but then how long would it be before you decided another switch would be good?” “That’d depend on how I was treated, of course.” Wouldn’t it be for anyone? “Well, we were looking for someone who was looking for a long-term position, and we found one.” “Ah. Thanks, then.”

Another position was struck from the list of those still outstanding. And there aren’t as many of those as I’d like, anymore.

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Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–17 February 2017

After addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting, including quiz answers and results, discussion asked after impressions of the first of the essays, a draft thereof having been due before class began. It then turned to treating readings.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PoEss FV (online before class begins on 24 February 2017)
  • DrEss RV (online before class begins on 3 March 2017)
  • DrEss FV (online before class begins on 10 March 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000 in Weir 111. The class roster listed 20 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Sixteen attended, verified informally. Student participation was somewhat less robust than could be hoped. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100 in Weir 111. The class roster listed 19 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Fifteen attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Pronghorn, Chapter 33: A Phone Call

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

The ringing of his cell phone woke Asa Pemewan in the bed he was using at his parents’ house. Tossing sheet and blanket aside, he groggily reached over to it, fumbled to answer, and hoarsely said “Hello?” into it. “Who’s calling?”

A voice sounding like it belonged to a middle-aged woman replied “I’m sorry to call so early, but I’m trying to reach Asa Pemewan. My name’s Olivia Smitherson, and I run Smitherson Chandlery.”

Asa sat up. “Yes, ma’am. I’m Asa.”

“Hi, Asa. Again, I’m sorry to wake you, but I wanted to return your call and to get hold of you before you tried to come in to work.” A choked sob reached Asa’s ears. “Papa didn’t let any of us know what he was going to have you do for him, and the office is in a shambles, anyway, because of the Tuesday Storm.”

“I understand, Ms. Smitherson. Thanks for letting me know. And please accept my condolences.”

“Thank you.” The line went dead, leaving Asa sitting in the dark. The air conditioner whirred to life, and Asa looked at his phone. I can get another hour of sleep, or I can go ahead and get up and try for other jobs. Maybe something in San Antonio’s hiring.

With that thought, Asa realized he would not be getting back to sleep anytime soon. So he staggered towards the kitchen to turn on the morning’s coffee, and while it began to brew, he used the one bathroom in the house ahead of his father’s waking. That done, he took a look at want-ads in and around the Alamo City. Education jobs on Craigslist spoke of the need for daycare teachers to work with the very young, as well as tutors for various agencies to offer supplemental instruction at all grade levels; Asa clicked on one of the latter, finding that it promised high pay and flexible hours. Clicking through, however, demanded a lengthy application process.

Seeing it, Asa shrugged before he went to get his coffee. Cup in hand, he sat back down and put himself to filling out the application. Questions about his programs of study, his grades, his teaching experience, and his test scores leapt at him from the screen. Hell, I haven’t taken the ACT or SAT since high school, and that was twenty years ago. Even the GRE’s a way back for me; I don’t know if I’d be any good helping with it, he thought. Still, I can do lit–all of it, really. And I can teach writing, so that should help. He typed furiously, clicked repeatedly, and, at length, the application was completed.

Form behind him, his father, dressed for work, asked “What was all that?”

“Job application. Tutoring, so irregular as all hell–if it works. It’s summer, now, so tutoring won’t be in much demand. But I’ve got to keep looking, right?”

His father nodded and moved to get his own coffee. “Y’ do. And somethin’ll come up. Y’re bright and a hard worker with y’r head and y’r words. Somethin’s coming.”

Asa took a pull from his cup. “I hope you’re right.”

“Y’ ain’t been here long, either, Asa. Tuesday Storm screwed things around, sure, but y’d need to be patient even without it.”

“If I’d only started looking when I came back, I’d believe you. But I was putting stuff out middle of last year, and I haven’t heard back on hardly anything that wasn’t a ‘no,’ here or otherwise. Hell, even my friend could only get me a ‘maybe.'”

“Y’ve still got to keep going.”

“Who’s talking about not? I’m just frustrated with the thing, is all. And so I’m looking for whatever I can slap together to get some money in in the meantime.” He took another pull from his mug. “Not that it’s helping at the moment. But I’m trying.”

Asa’s father drank from his own mug. “I know y’ are, son. I know y’are. And I know looking for work and not finding it sucks. And even when y’ do find work, and y’ work y’r ass off, and the bills don’t get paid the way they need to, that sucks, too. But y’re at least in a decent spot. Y’ve got food and a place to sleep, and that’s better than it could be.”

Asa nodded. “I know, Dad. I know. And I appreciate that you and Mom’re letting me stay here; I know you don’t have to.”

“Y’re our son. We weren’t going to turn y’ away.”

“But some folks would’ve. You didn’t, and I appreciate it. And I know I’ve been kind of a pain in the ass.”

“We’re used to that from y’.”

Asa shook his head. “I’m being serious. I really do appreciate you putting up with me–and continuing to do so. Because it doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to move back out anytime soon.” He smiled. “You and Mom’ll have to keep your clothes on around the house a little longer.”

Asa’s father smiled back. “Y’ stay in y’r room like y’ used to, and we’ll do like we did then, too.”

Asa pantomimed vomiting, and his father chuckled. “How’d y’ think we got y’ and y’r sister?” He finished his cup of coffee. “But I’ve got to head in soon, so I’ll leave y’ to it. Should be a nice day out; see if y’ can get some of it on y’, okay? Staying in all the time’s not good for y’, and y’ need every bit of help y’ can get.”

“I will, Dad. But I’m going to see about putting in some more applications first.”

“Sounds good, son. Sounds good.”

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Pronghorn, Chapter 32: Time Passing

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

The next few days in Pronghorn saw much of the same as had Wednesday and Thursday. The people of the town gathered together to clean up the damage that had been left by the Tuesday Storm–and people were beginning to call it that, capital letters and all. Roads were cleared relatively quickly, with all that needed to be done being dragging wood from the streets and, for the larger pieces, cutting it with chainsaws that were kept in some numbers in local homes. Many houses and yards were similarly quickly restored, and roofing and window companies began to filter in to handle the damage that had been inflicted from on high. Many homes suddenly began to carry metal roofs where they had had shingles in need of repair, and many homes began to have well-fitted double-pane windows where they had had old single-pane panels to keep out the air and let in the light. Garbage service resumed, and while several families had to get rid of more than they would have liked to have done, they were able to do so, and other food, offered freely from neighbor to neighbor, took its place.

This is not to say, of course, that there were not people excluded from the general amity. Every town has people in it who do not fit in, and some of those do not do so because they do not want to do so. Pronghorn remembered such people after the Tuesday Storm, and they found themselves working alone to clear out their yards and driveways, or their freezers that had been opened while the power was out. Rufus Hochstedler was one of them; Asa Pemewan was far from the only one who had had him wave his gun about, and many had been more brusquely treated than he. “Deux” Lee LeBeaux–really Lee LeBeaux, Jr.–also found himself on the outs; his business largely catered to tourists, but his custom was stingy with the people in the town, and his treatment of workers, usually the youth of Pronghorn, was far from ideal. He should not have been surprised when the teenagers all quit after the storm, although he seemed to be.

It is also not to say that the only help that came to Pronghorn came from Pronghorn. The Red Cross sent trucks in with food–mostly military surplus rations, but easy and abundant–and cleaning supplies. The few big-box stores the town had–mostly on the outskirts, on Highway 411 towards San Antonio–sent in relief, as well, in building materials and furniture. (At least one of the managers marked some lumber as “destroyed by water” or “destroyed by hail” that was not; his only request was that he not be thanked aloud, but he did not buy his own drinks for a while afterwards.) Franchise restaurants–again, clustered on 411 towards San Antonio, with a few on 701 as it headed north out of town–ran deep discounts, supplemented by corporate offerings. And state and federal aid was available to be had, despite people’s complaints about the taxes that make them possible and conspiracy theorists’ rants about FEMA death camps.

Local government had a harder time of it than the populace, though. More damage had been done to city offices than had initially been thought–although a tree falling through the building is not insignificant, to be sure. Water had infiltrated quite a bit of the building, including records storage that had been retained on site rather than deposited at the college library. Some of the electronic records had also been affected by the loss of power and the intrusion of water; not all of them had been backed up to remote storage, so some contracts that had been under negotiation were lost. (It is certain that some city officials were not displeased at the results, whether because they had opposed the contracts or because they had been doing as those in office often do. And it is rumored that one person managed to win free of blackmail, although whether that was an accident or not is questionable.)

Anna Kerr had a spot of work of her own. Alone in town, one of her congregants had died in the Tuesday Storm, and so she alone of all the clergy had the solemn duty of preaching a funeral. Bartholomew Smitherson had been a figure of no mean influence and power in the town, and the church was filled to bursting by the throng of mourners. By all accounts, the ceremony was a calm and dignified affair, much in line with the public persona presented by the decedent. His wife had predeceased him (breast cancer), as had two children (one in combat, another as a drunk driver); three other children–the Chandlery manager, the honey plant manager, and an executive for Frost Bank in San Antonio–were in attendance, as were the children of the latter two, and the young granddaughter of the last. So were various collateral relatives, as well as the ostensible heads of the Zapata and Hochstedler families, Guillermo and Wilhelm, respectively. And tears were shed, of course, some sincerely and others clearly for show–for small towns make much of what is “supposed” to happen–both during the ceremony at the church and at the internment afterwards that followed the mile-long funeral procession.

At the graveside, the Chandlery manager received a folded flag; Bartholomew, as had many men of his generation, had been in the armed forces in his youth, though he spoke of it little. And the man himself was lowered into the ground beside his late wife and children, rejoining in the grave what had been parted in the world above. So the deed was done, and the people of Pronghorn worked each to return to some normalcy in the days that followed.

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Pronghorn, Chapter 31: Not Dessert, but Satisfying

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

Asa Pemewan drew a deep breath as he made to answer the questions the Reverend Anna Kerr had put to him. “The work yells at me, really,” he said. “Even now, I can’t help but see what’s on your bookshelves, and I keep thinking how to read what you read to get some idea about who you are and what you are. I keep looking for things we’ve both read, thinking about what the fact of our shared readership shows about the communities in which we participate entirely independently of where we are in the physical world. What your choice of words says about you and your history, and the history of the people who taught you to talk and to read, all of it and more floods on me at any given moment, and I can’t shut it off. It won’t be shut off; it is the lens through which I look at the world, bending all the light that reaches me and throwing some things into relief even as it hides other things from me entirely.”

He paused. “If the work you do is like that for you, then I understand, and I’ll not keep you from it. I couldn’t, in any event, and I’d be a kind of ass I try very much not to be if I made the attempt at doing so.” He stood to leave.

Anna stood, as well, and she came around her desk once again. Looking up at him, for he was slightly taller than her, she said “It is, and I’m glad you understand.” She reached up and kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll call you when things settle down a bit, and we’ll get that lunch. Or dinner. And we’ll split the check.”

Asa reached up to touch his cheek where she had kissed it. His eyes were wide, as if looking somewhere else. “Yeah.” His hand dropped, and his attention returned to where he was, where Anna stood. He nodded. “Yeah. That’ll be good. I’d like that a lot. A whole lot.” He made a short bow with his head and left, tripping over his feet a little as he did so, and making his way back to his teal hatchback in something of a daze.

Starting the car but sitting in it only, not yet driving, he thought That went…oddly. I’m not sure what to make of it. She seems interested, but I could be reading too much into that. I’ve done so more than once before. His mind flashed back to his undergraduate days. There was Allison; she gave me her phone number, and I thought she wanted to go out on a date. Turns out, she only wanted to set up a study session; she had a boyfriend. I wonder what happened with her.

He shook his head again, breaking his reverie. “Best not to think about it” he said aloud, and he put the car in gear. His stomach rumbled a bit as he did so, and as he left the church’s parking lot, turning back onto the street to head towards downtown, he said to himself “I do need to eat. I wonder if anything in town is open, or if I ought just to go back to the house and get something there.”

Driving on, Asa found more repair work in progress, and he saw that the Red Cross trucks that had passed him before were out distributing food and cleaning supplies to the people at work. Best head home, then. Here, I’d be in the way more than anything else, and that’s not what folks need at the moment.

When he reached his parents’ house, Asa took a look at his phone. Several texts had come in while he was out; he’d silenced his phone for the date that did not happen. One of them was from Art Martinez: “Checking to see if you weathered the storm. Let me know if you’re well.”

Asa smiled a bit. Of course an English professor punctuates texts he thought as he replied. “I’m well. Town’s messed up, though. Check on campus.”

A reply came quickly. “Main ofc. noted closure, no injuries. Have a paper to write anyway. Good to know you’re fine.”

Asa headed into the house. His mother noted his entrance. “You’re back quickly. What happened?”

“Anna had to work, as you might expect. We’re taking a raincheck; she says she would like to get together, but with the storm and the cleanup…”

“Well, that makes sense.”

“Red Cross is in town, too. They’re passing out food and such downtown. City hall’s trashed; a tree fell through it. Lots of businesses are going to be hurting, too. Windows are out in many, and Rufus Hochstedler’s store’s roof fell in.”

“I hadn’t heard that.”

“Yeah. I saw it when I drove by. Got a text from Art, too; he says the college is closed, but nobody got hurt there, so that much is good.”

“That is good.”

Asa’s father popped in at that point. “What’s good?”

“The college didn’t have anyone hurt by the storm. Campus is closed for cleanup.”

“Right.” Asa’s father paused. “Wait, what’re y’ doing home? Thought y’ had a date with Rev’nd Kerr.”

“She’s got to work. The storm, you know.”

He nodded. “Makes sense. Anything we can do to help?”

Asa shrugged. “Red Cross is in town. Might donate to them. Otherwise, staying out of the way’d probably be good.”

His father nodded again. “Also makes sense. And we’ll want to head to the city for groceries in the next few days. Power outage played hell with the coffin coolers in the stores here.”

“Did we lose any food?”

“Nope. Kept everything closed; it stayed cool. Not everyone did, though; neighbors found out their freezer doesn’t seal. Had most of a deer in there, too.”

Asa winced at the image that formed in his mind. Glad it wasn’t us.

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Pronghorn, Chapter 30: A Lunch Date

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

Asa Pemewan pulled into the parking lot of the church. As he did, he noticed that there was minimal damage to it; a few panels in the stained glass windows were cracked, and one seemed to have been punched out, and it was clear that the roof would need some work, but little else seemed to be wrong. The trees on the property had kept their greater branches and limbs; the shrubbery seemed disheveled but intact. The sound of a working air conditioner betrayed that the power remained on, as did the obvious flickering of a fluorescent light bulb that would soon need to be replaced.

Asa parked, exited his teal hatchback, and made his way up to the church building. The door was unlocked; he walked inside, and the prevailing quiet of the church on a day when no services were in session surprised him. I don’t know why it should be a shock, though, he thought. Churches are supposed to be places of reflection, places to hear Elijah’s “still small voice.” And Asa did hear voices, muted through walls and doors but still plain to his ears; he moved toward them, navigating halls he vaguely recalled from long-ago abortive attempts to join vacation Bible schools and youth groups. I never did fit in here, did I? And at this point, I doubt I ever will; I’ve been gone too long and changed too  much.

Soon enough, he came to a door marked “Pastor’s Office.” It was shut; he knocked, and Anna Kerr’s voice rang out “Come in,” so Asa did. “Oh, hi, Asa!” She stood and came around her desk, past messy bookshelves whose boards bent under the weight of volumes of commentary, translations of Scripture into and out of several languages, copies of holy texts from many other religions–Risky move, keeping a Qur’an in this part of the world, Asa thought–histories of Scotland, and knickknacks and tchotchkes of many different kinds and qualities. She stuck her hand out, Asa shook it, and she continued. “I’m glad you made it through the storm. Al and Matilda are okay?”

It took Asa a moment to recognize his parents’ names. He nodded. “They are. But I was sorry to hear about Bartholomew Smitherson.”

He sat as Anna gestured, and she resumed her seat behind her desk. “I was, too,” she said. “We didn’t always agree–which was good; I don’t want my congregants not to think–but he was a solid member of the church. I’m working on the services we’ll have; I’ve heard a bit from the family. Not much, as you might expect, but a little. The funeral’ll be here; he’ll be buried on the family land north of town, so far’s I know.”

Asa nodded again. “Makes sense. I’m waiting to hear from them, myself; Bartholomew’d hired me Tuesday before the storm. Now I don’t know if I have a job or not.”

“I suppose I’d better buy lunch, then.”

Asa shook his head. “That’s not why I said that, and I’ve got some other leads at the moment; I can buy. I asked you out, remember?”

“Yeah, about that…”

Asa sighed. “I figured we’d need to reschedule. Not much is open in town right now–or it wasn’t when I drove through.”

“I haven’t had a chance to look.”

“There’s a lot of cleanup that needs doing. A lot of it’s in progress, but downtown got hammered pretty badly. City offices have a tree through the wall. Rufus Hochstedler’s store’s roof fell in. Other places have windows out, and I imagine the power going out will have hurt a lot of the local eateries and such.”

Anna winced. “I thought as much. The church sent what it could with the Red Cross.”

“I saw the trucks roll by, coming from this way. I’m glad you could help them.”

“I’ve actually been emailing back and forth with the bishop’s office. There’s a bit of an aid fund that the local conference maintains; I’m trying to get some of it sent this way to help with recovery. We’re not the only town that got hit, though, and there’re other concerns in the area, so it’s not going as well as might be hoped.”

“I hope the bishop sees clear to help.”

“Me, too. And I hope we’ll be able to get together sometime when the skies haven’t been falling.”

“But that won’t be today, I know. And I’ll not keep you, Reverend. But I really would like to get together sometime. I mean it when I say I’d like to get to know you better.”

She looked at him levelly. Oh, hell. “I mean,” he found himself stammering, “I’d guess you get that quite a bit, people saying they want to get to know you better. Maybe they mean it. Maybe I protest so much.” His pace quickened as he spoke on; Kerr continued to look at him levelly, and Asa lapsed into silence.

After a moment, just before the urge to flee became irresistible for Asa, the reverend said “Actually, Asa, I don’t. Most of the people I meet are either already committed or are somehow intimidated by the fact of my collar–when I wear it. And I can tell you’re nervous, too. But I’m glad that you’re asking; it’s nice to know someone sees me as being at least a little more than the job, even if it’s not necessarily the way I’d most like to be seen.”

Asa felt himself blushing mightily as Kerr continued. “And, truth be told, I’d like to get to know you better, too. I really would. But from what I hear, what I know about people who’ve been in academic life, you’re called to do the work you do–just as I’m called to this. And today, at least, I need to work on this. People need help, and I’m called to help them. Just like you’re called to the work you do.

“You are called to it, aren’t you? Even knowing that you are where you are, the work you’ve trained to do, studied to do, it calls to you, asking to be done, doesn’t it?”

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Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–13 February 2017

After addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting, discussion asked after progress on the first of the upcoming essays. It then turned to treating readings before concluding in a quiz.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PoEss RV (online before class begins on 17 February 2017)
  • PoEss FV (online before class begins on 24 February 2017)
  • DrEss RV (online before class begins on 3 March 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000 in Weir 111. The class roster listed 20 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Eighteen attended, verified via the quiz. Student participation was reasonably good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100 in Weir 111. The class roster listed 19 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified via the quiz. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Pronghorn, Chapter 29: Thursday Morning

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

The next day saw Asa Pemewan rise early and take care dressing once again. He skipped a tie, for he was not going to look for work that day, but he did have an appointment he wanted to keep. Provided it is still going to happen, he thought. I imagine Anna has a fair bit to do right now.

After dressing , Asa checked his emails, noting that a few more job applications he had put in before had been rejected. No surprises there. The doctorate seems to be working against me every way I turn, anyway.

That done, Asa made to place a phone call. A quick online search revealed the number he would need to call: that of the Smitherson Chandlery. He dialed, and the phone rang once…twice…thrice…a fourth time…and voicemail picked up. The recorded voice was cheerful, with a lilting cadence.

“Thank you for calling the Smitherson Chandlery. We can’t currently make it to the phone, but if you’ll leave your name, your number, and a brief message, we’ll return your call as soon as we can.”

The expected beep followed, and Asa cleared his throat before saying “This is Asa Pemewan calling. I heard about Bartholomew’s passing, and I wanted to extend my sympathies to the family for the loss. Please do let me know what, if anything, I can do to help.” He left his phone number and hung up. Puts it in their court. And if I don’t hear back, I’ll head to the one office on Monday, and the Chandlery if it’s not open.

Several hours remained for Asa before his appointment–lunch date–with Reverend Anna Kerr. Asa took the opportunity to drive around the town, looking at what the Tuesday storm had done and how the people were recovering from it. Pronghorn Creek was still swollen, of course, with several of the local bridges–low-water crossings, really–still closed off. It was clear that at least one person had sought unsuccessfully to get around the black-and-orange barricades that had been placed to stop people from driving into the running water; a waterlogged truck stood with its doors open, clearly having been dragged up onto the bank of the northern branch of the creek. I hope the people who were in it’re okay, even if they’re idiots, thought Asa as he turned his teal hatchback around and continued.

Some of the roads in town still had tree branches fallen across them. Others had been cleared of larger debris, although twigs and leaves and fragments of bark and splintered wood still festooned the pavement across much of the town. The city offices themselves were being frantically repaired; a tree had fallen into the building, curving one wall inward, and many of the panes of glass that had let civil servants look out over Pronghorn had been shattered. Many of the storefronts Asa had gone into over the past days were similarly broken, sheets of plywood going up to keep out the weather now that the storm had passed. He could not help but smile a bit as he drove past Rufus Hochstedler’s antiques store, the roof of which had clearly collapsed into the showroom. The Browning didn’t do you much good, did it, you asshole?

Asa caught himself thinking thus uncharitably and shook his head as he drove on. I really shouldn’t be happy about it. Rufus might be an ass, but maybe his family isn’t, and they suffer if his business does badly. Driving further, he found crews at work clearing debris from roads and yards, and the schools–he was able to drive past both–seemed to be clearing. Fortunately, the public schools were out of session, and the college was only lightly attended at this time of year. I hope Sergeant Gonzales is okay, he thought as he drove by Pronghorn Community College. I figure Art is, off in San Antone.

Asa found himself thinking back to graduate school, where he had met Arturo and the two had been fast friends. He smiled thinking of one conference they had attended together, each wearing a shirt that had the other’s face emblazoned on it–each advertising for the other. There was another that had seen them get extravagantly drunk at lunch in San Angelo–and while a high-school language competition was going on at Angelo State University. Art painted two or three of them an interesting series of colors, then. And there were others when the two of them…

Another head-shake dispelled the thought. Not the kind of thing to have in mind with what I’m about to do, I think. And those days are long behind me, too. He glanced at the clock in his instrument panel. And it’s getting to be time for me to go to church and see if Anna is still up for lunch with me. And if anything’s open today; I haven’t seen a lot of places ready for customers.

A red light called Asa to stop. Trucks from the Red Cross drove past him as he waited for the light to change. It’s good to see them now thought Asa, and when the light changed again, he pulled out, turning left, whence they had come. I hope they do some good for the folks here.

And I’m glad that I’m not in a position to need them. Much as I do need, that kind of thing’s not part of it. Asa cleared his throat again as he proceeded towards the church his parents attended, ready to pick up the preacher, his heart beginning to race as he went on. I don’t know why I’m so nervous. It’s just lunch, after all. Even if it is with a good-looking woman.

Asa shook his head yet again, driving on.

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Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–10 February 2017

After addressing concerns from and questions about the previous class meeting, discussion asked after progress on the first of the upcoming essays. It then returned to treating “Deor.”

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PoEss RV (online before class begins on 17 February 2017)
  • PoEss FV (online before class begins on 24 February 2017)
  • DrEss RV (online before class begins on 3 March 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000 in Weir 111. The class roster listed 20 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Seventeen attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. One student from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100 in Weir 111. The class roster listed 19 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Fifteen attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.