Friday, August 20, 2010

Not Zài Jiàn But Merely Zhídào Wǒmen Zàicì Jiànmiàn

I spent a portion of last evening in the company of some old friends. The purpose of the get-together was a bit melancholic, which of course makes it the perfect Gaelic event. We gathered to wish a safe voyage and a happy and healthy year abroad to our favorite mad Hungarian.

Les Rudnyanszky is a man who three decades ago or so first made an impression on my life and in it. It proved to be not only a positive one but a long-lasting one as well. I have known him for most of my life, first as a coach and a teacher but for far longer as a mentor and as a friend. He is off to do something that I know I lack the courage or the intestinal fortitude to do - spend the next year in China doing what he loves: teaching.

I initially thought that this decision was one he had made back in the Fall of 2010 when it was still unclear whether his beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish were to be led onto the gridiron in 2011 by the corpulent one. Charlie Weis had arrived in South Bend several seasons earlier as a legend - in his own mind at least - but was kicked to the curb after the 2010 season generally reviled as the Round Mound of Dumbfound. I thought that perhaps Doc had taken the job in China in an attempt to seek refuge in a foreign land unfamiliar with the mythical powers of the Touchdown Jesus to save himself the agita associated with yet another disappointing season.

Given my hypothesis I wondered if the arrival of the newest designated savior from Cincinnati had caused him to rethink his plans. He assured me that another season under Weis did not factor into his decision-making. I believe him. He did after all survive the Willingham era, the Davies era and the eminently unforgettable Gerry Faust era way back when in the 1980's. In Doc's A.P. American History class in the Fall of '83 we had a nickname for Coach Faust. We called him "Quiz A Week" because every Saturday afternoon collapse on the field led directly to a Monday afternoon quiz in Doc's class. I wonder what Gerry Faust is up to these days. I know that he is not accompanying Doc to China. I asked.

We sat last night in one of my favorite places having a beer or two, breaking bread and waxing nostalgic. It was - as it always is - good to be in the company of good friends. At night's end, it was a bit difficult for one and all to say our good nights. Doc is only heading out for a year. However he is off to the other side of the world. And he is headed to a walled society, both literally and figuratively, as well. He will be out of sight but never out of mind.

I chose last night not to say goodbye, which according to a neat little Google translator service I found on-line is Zài Jiàn. Instead I said, "Until we meet again", which is "Zhídào wǒmen zàicì jiànmiàn". It has a nice, hopeful ring to it; right?

If goodbye remains unspoken, then there is no reason to be afraid.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After reading this, I wept. This is another memorable treasure for me. I will keep it to read and ponder during the various passages the future holds for all of us. Thank you, Friend.