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Dame Destiny by Gary D. Crawford

You never know how things are going to turn out, do you? Some of the things I have really wanted and tried really hard to get – a certain job, for example (or a certain girlfriend) – just didn’t always pan out as expected. Conversely, some of the best things in my life were accidental happenings or chance encounters…or seemed to be. I could provide dozens of examples, which would bore you quite to tears since you have plenty of your own examples. So I’ll limit myself to just two. Oddly, both have to do with islands. When I was a sprat, I taught English in high school for two years. It was great fun, but it soon began to dawn on me that I was just one small step ahead of some of my brightest kids. I was shocked to discover that despite four years spent at a large Midwestern university there still were a few tiny gaps in my understanding of the doings of man, past and present. So I resigned my post and returned for a master’s degree. I enrolled in the English department, but couldn’t focus. Instead I dabbled: picked up a bit of anthropology, played 16th century Spanish music on period instruments, got a smattering of art

history, philosophy, delved into the 1917 Russian Revolution, studied turbidity currents, the heavens, the game of Go, and other trivial pursuits. It was all so much more interesting than working on a degree in English. So, after five quarters, with no thesis in mind and no end in sight — and running out of money — I bagged it and joined the Peace Corps. This sudden move was prompted by the discovery that the Peace Corps, then just four years old, was scurrying about trying to open a new program — in Micronesia. Well, now! Living in the islands among palm trees and dark-eyed maidens seemed rather more congenial than hunkering down on the Bolivian Altiplano. So I filled out an application and, sure enough, a few months later I was invited to training in Florida. I would be teaching English as a Second Language to some kids on some island — which one I had no idea — somewhere out there. And “out there” was about all I knew about the Pacific islands. The world atlas reminded me that the “Polynesian” islands lie within a big triangle bounded by New Zealand, Easter Island, and


Tidewater Times December 2012  

December 2012 Tidewater Times

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