Today feels like a bonafide renewal around these parts. The winter has been cold and blustery, with lots of days in the teens and twenties and even a few snow flurries back in late December. I recall reading Dream State (excellent book, by the way) back in 2005, a few weeks before we moved down here from Oregon; in the book, Diane Roberts wrote, "It can get bitterly cold in North Florida in the winter." I was incredulous, but boy was I off base. We've been cooooolllldddd!
Anyway, today it warmed up around here. I took a leisurely run on the trails in the sunlight, shorts and a tee-shirt, after taking Lyla to her first dental appointment ever. Those are the beginnings, friends: the peninsula is warming, and it won't be long before it's time to get out there and start working in the garden and the yard.
Lyla was wonderful in her appointment. She was surprisingly patient with everything and even seemed to enjoy the fluoride treatment. That kid...man, we got lucky.
On the other end of the spectrum, I'm about to leave for a retirement party for the inestimable Dean Charles Smires, my supervisor in the communications department for much of my time here at Florida State College. When Jeanne and I loaded the U-haul and did the reverse Oregon Trail back in '05, we both came East loaded with equal measure of trepidation and hope. I was pretty nervous about finding my place in an institution as large as ours.
But Dean Smires quickly set me mind at ease. His patient professionalism and sense of humor really make our department (twenty-one faculty, if I'm not mistaken) move smoothly. Dean Smires has always been fair and supportive, energetic and kind. He asks the types of incisive questions of the faculty he works with that help us grow as educators, and he is an old pro at mediating issues between faculty and students.
This retirement is actually probably a beginning for Dean Smires as well, or at least a return to his roots in the classroom. He's a very young retiree, and I expect we'll have the pleasure of his company as a colleague in the near future as he prepares to teach a little and travel a lot.
At any rate, our institution has excelled as a result of his expert stewardship and even temperament throughout the years. Congratulations, Dean Smires, on all of your accomplishments at the college...