Ponderings with Doug – April 26, 2019

I started taking Greek classes in college and through seminary racked up seven years of Greek. I am great on a college campus reading fraternity and sorority shirts! The Methodists will tell you that every now and then I throw a Greek word into a sermon, just for the fun of it.

My first Greek professor in college was Vernon G. Davidson. He had been teaching Greek since the Pilgrims landed and we were sure that he taught Julius Caesar Greek. Dr. D, as we called him, was the “ancient of days.” He was a saintly old man, who seriously should have retired centuries before he finally did. My first Greek class was at 1:25 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I managed to matriculate with very few morning classes. Afternoon Greek was good except on Friday afternoons.

I was a student at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. My mother and my girlfriend were in Decatur, Alabama about eighty miles north of the campus. On Friday, your laundry and your heart demanded that you went home for the weekend.

Now, Dr.D started all of his Greek classes the same way. He announced the topic for the day, prayed, then began his lecture. On Fridays, Tommy Green, who also had a mom and a girlfriend in north Alabama, would sit beside me by the door of the classroom. When Dr. D would say his prayer, some place between invoking the name of God and the final “Amen”, Tommy and I would vanish. We would drive in tandem to north Alabama to see our mothers and our girlfriends. If Dr. D. was not giving some kind of a quiz, every Friday Tommy and I vamoosed early from Greek class. We were allowed nine absences in a class before academic penalty and we were committed to use every absence provided by the university. (Isn’t that the way people think?)

I remember one Friday. It was the first “spring feeling” Friday of the year. We had been trapped on campus the previous weekend by a snow storm. We were anxious to get home. We had a severe case of spring fever and we missed our mothers. So, we took our quick exit seats in the Greek class. Dr. D walked in. He stood between us and our exit announcing the topic for the day’s class. A pop quiz on alpha contract verbs was our class work that day. Tommy and I couldn’t leave until we had completed the pop quiz. I don’t know how long it takes you to conjugate alpha contract verbs but I was going to be there a while.

Dr. D then said, “let us pray.”

After the prayer he looked at me and Tommy. We were glaring at him, praying secret prayers about his health and eternal destination. Dr. D said to us, “Boys… you don’t have to like me but you gotta love me.”

Here endeth the lesson!