Two years ago today. Or to be more precise….Monday 11th February 2013…. I was in Texas.
For several years, I had been involved in various “History” forums online and struck up a friendship with a very good PhD student in United States. It was somewhat ironic that she was young and doing a PhD, while I was playing “catch up” and getting a BA in History, thirty five years too late.
She was an avid reader of my Blog but forever encouraging me to take myself more seriously. That I sometimes made good points but had a tendency to look for a “punch line”. My friend got her PhD and is now a highly respected, award winning historian.
But just over two years ago, she asked me to go to Texas and talk to her post-graduate students about The Troubles and Conflict Resolution. Of course, no West Belfast man of my vintage can resist that kinda opportunity. There was just one problem. With the exception of two “father of the groom” speeches, I had never spoken in public.
The really strange thing is….and I am reluctant to put this in terms that look that I am boasting…..it went really really well. The greatest (non-family related) triumph of my life. I spoke for about 90 minutes and in the process of preparing the lecture, I learned a lot about myself. I suppose everyone has a “King for a Day” moment….”every dog has its day” after all. And for two hours in a Texas college town …two years ago, I had my day.
Eternal gratitude of course to the person, who invited me to talk to her students. I am so glad that I did not fail her.