Class Is In Session

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 3, 2009 in General Discussion | 2 Comments >>

Professor Bill McPhee sits against the glass in the lower clubhouse. He is a retired professor and author from a small college in  South Carolina. He told me that he gets to come to the races to this day, due in part to a book of short stories he published while teaching.

He said he was always fascinated with the future. It was at this time, I thought I was going to get a lecture from an old “Trekkie.” But, how I was wrong, and glad that I stuck around for his class.

He said the book held ten stories, most of which he wrote about poverty, happiness, death of loved ones, and the gift of birth. All, that is, except one chapter.

He told me the story of a lonely little man. His family had passed on, and his bride left him when he was in WWII. He came back and went to school on the GI Bill, and found himself a job. He always was active in his community, and was an assistant coach for many youth teams many moons ago. He had no children of his own, but he felt he was a father of many.

He enjoyed going to church, and making his way to the races each Saturday. He loved the game, but never had any luck. Never one to complain, and always high in spirits. He kept this routine most of his life. He never re-married, and was in love with a game that eluded him for years.

He was walking home from St. Elyosius one morning, when he found a copy of a freshly folded paper. The paper had not been read, or even opened. He wanted to deliver it to the house, when he read the date on the paper’s heading. It was dated one week in advance. He thought it to be a mistake, and held on to this oddity.

The next week he went to the track, and found that every winner that was reported was running on this day. Every race, and every post position just the same…. It was at this time he knew luck had smiled on him in some odd way. He never took advantage by betting too much, and won every race he played. He kept this to himself, and felt that the only place to rid himself of this guilt was confession.

Upon entering the confessional, he told his story. The priest laughed quietly, and asked him to stop taking a mid-morning nip with his coffee. He left embarrassed, and made his way home. He felt as if he was never so alone in the world. The only thing he ever had was his good and solid reputation.

He entered the steps of his one room apartment. It was just fine for a high school teacher. Upon opening the front door, he found his paper folded freshly into the doorway. It was at this time, he decided that his little secret was one he would keep. It was a gift. A gift from places where men have not returned. He kept his word to himself, and made money for years. Not the kind that would make him a millionaire, but the kind that would allow him to secretly buy baseball uniforms for his little league team; help many families make it through tough times with anonymous gifts in the mail. So many young people went to college, and many received help from special grants and gifts. The rest of the story carries on, and you can probably imagine the rest.

Professor McPhee said it was time to handicap. He grabbed a coffee, and made his way back to the table. I told him that I enjoyed his story. He just laughed, and told me that it is the kind of thing that dreams are made of. The magic that makes life special. He said stop back sometime; don’t be in such a hurry. He may even have a winner for me, if I am lucky……