By Mac McKerral

A friend sent me the cartoon above after my lament about the onset of the “Meetings Week” that precedes the first day of classes.

Yes, the fall semester arrived, and I am wondering during “Meetings Week” where the summer went.

I am wondering where the year went.

I listened to the drone of the cicadas as I walked about campus.

I am wondering where seven years went.

I wonder a lot, especially about life here at Western Kentucky University. Some of that wondering takes on a pretty serious tone. Most of it does not.

The idea to write regularly about all things WKU came to me several years ago, but I decided to wait.

The time seems right.

I chose the name “WesternCivilizationWKU” for a couple reasons.

First, we are a civilization here under the ever-expanding bubble called campus. We have a way of doing things. We come with a unique set of skills, interests, habits, thought processes, dress, attitudes, politics, faith and the list goes on.

Second, since I arrived in 2005, I have heard students moan about taking the (former) general education course “Western Civilization (I or II). For many students, anything that happened before Taylor Swift hit the big time lacks relevance. Many (an ambitious term, no doubt) will find my posts in this blog irrelevant, which makes the blog’s title in an odd way relevant.

And many of the students who moaned about the class called Western Civilization a “flunk-out” class. That term sure stood the test of time. So the blog’s name gives it an academic signature.

Now, back to “time.”

This week I arrived at the annual meeting for the Potter College of Arts & Letters promptly at 10 a.m. — 24 hours early. I could have sworn it was Wednesday.

Nope, Tuesday.

So I clung to the last vestiges of my summer signature — not knowing or really caring what day it was — as I walked back to my office while listening to the cicadas provide a backdrop to a cacophony of other sounds: marching band instruments and instructions to the players delivered on a public address system; long lines of freshmen mastering the plan while chatting, huffing and puffing, laughing and grousing; cell phone chirps, followed by “Hey, Mom”; the clock tower chimes; construction noises; and lawn mowers.

And I started wondering again.

What will the new academic year bring? How many “new academic years” do I have left in me? What can I do to (improve, tolerate, avoid, better understand, withstand, appreciate, mitigate, invigorate . . . ) “Western Civilization WKU” and all that comes with it?

Time will tell.

James McMurtry sings this refrain in his tune “No More Buffalo”:

“No more buffalo, blue skies or open road
“No more rodeo, no more noise
“Take this Cadillac, park it out in back
“Mama’s calling, put away the toys.”

The summer is over, friends. Mama WKU is calling.

Time to put away the toys.
(For more about Mac, search the menu for “About” and “Who is this guy?”)


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