Venit Vidit Vicit
Reginald Foster spoke at Notre Dame last Thursday. We had an overflowing crowd– people from all parts of the University, and many of his former students from good distances, made the trip in to see him. Liberals and conservatives in the same room, to hear the same speaker! It was great.
It almost didn’t happen. I was in despair –feeling cursed by Irish doom — on Wednesday night. We were picking him up at the Niles Amtrak train station, about 15 miles from ND, and it looked like everything was on time. He was to get in at 8:41 p.m., and we were going to take him to the Morris Inn for a good night’s sleep before a busy day (which included a Novus Ordo Latin Mass in one of the most beautiful dorm chapels–Alumni Hall, and a meeting with President John Jenkins, who is an accomplished Latinist himself).
The best-laid plans. . . . People waiting for other passengers suddenly started walking back to their cars, and we asked what happened. They said that a tornado had struck Michigan City, and blown a couple of freight cars off their tracks. A tornado, for God’s sake! The train was turning around to Chicago, and no one knew what was going to happen next.
No those of you who know Reggie know that he’s not a cell phone kind of guy. He’s not even an email kind of guy. So we had to guess. And pray. Around 11:30 p.m., Amtrak said that they were busing people to Niles–who knows when the train was going to get in. And the station is locked, and totally deserted and isolated, I didn’t see a phone around. And it was raining. Cursed. We were cursed — that’s all there was to it.
I had visions of Reggie getting in, getting pneumonia, or incurring some other type of grave bodily harm. And I would personally be respnsible not only for harm to this wonderful person, but for the death of Latin in the world church. Or something. If he even got on the bus, that is.
Fortunately, I found a very nice, very smart cab driver, who agreed to sit there until the bus got in, and identify and pick up Reggie, and take him to the Morris Inn. I told him to call me when they were on their way. The call came at 3:25 am. Not cursed after all. Just a test of faith. I got a B-, I think.
Fortunately, Reggie doesn’t need much sleep. He was right as rain the next morning. And totally up for everything we threw at him.
Here’s a link to the Observer article about him. I’m doing the talking because he didn’t want to do an interview himself.
P.S. I never said I was Reggie’s colleague– I am, and will never be anything other than, Reggie’s student –and gratefully so at that.