Monday, March 21, 2011

"Press Release"


The Reverend Doctor William Craig, Public Orator of the University of Trinity College and Priest-in-Charge of the Anglican Church of St Columba and All Hallows in East York, held a dinner this evening to celebrate the 20,000th day since his birth, at Café Taste on Queen Street West in Parkdale.

Guests included many Fellows of Trinity College, including the Registrar, Dr Bruce Bowden, and the Dean of Divinity, Dr David Neelands, many friends from the College, and his nephew, Mr Jonathan Craig.

The guests dined on French Onion soup, Ontario cheese flight, Filet mignon with roasted vegetables and Vanilla maple bread pudding. Various wines from the restaurant’s carefully chosen cellar were enjoyed.

Music was played from historic recordings conducted by Albert Ketèlbey (1875-1959), one of the finest English composers of light music of the 20th century.

Dr Craig made the following remarks:

My dear friends,
The occasion of this gathering is, I admit, a little unusual, and perhaps I should try to explain just where the idea came from. In Howl’s Moving Castle, a book for young people by Diana Wynne Jones, the wizard Howl takes part of Donne’s “Go and Catch a Falling Star” as a spell:

If thou beest born to strange sights
Things invisible to see
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee.

And he calculates: "‘That brings it to about Midsummer Day’. ‘What is brought to Midsummer Day?’ asked Sophie. ‘The time I’ll be ten thousand days old’, Howl said."
When I read this I naturally began to wonder how many days I had lived. Wondering about the number of one’s days is even more natural when you read the Bible a lot. As far back as Genesis the span of lie is spoken of as one’s days, and the 90th Psalm, which declares that ‘The days of our years [are] threescore years and ten’, prays that God will ‘teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom’. Still, it was mostly the wizard Howl that got me thinking; I was well past 10,000, but the 20,000th day was coming soon enough to remember and far enough away to plan some way of marking it.
That much for the occasion. I’d love to start a trend, so that celebrating some significant number of days became a popular thing to do; but over the years I have dropped ‘become a trend-setter’ from my life’s ambitions .
Now, something about this gathering. About 4,580 days ago, in a somewhat risky career move, I came back to Toronto and back to Trinity College. It’s a good rule: whenever being a grown-up isn’t working, go back to Trinity. I won’t speak in any detail of the ups and downs of the last 4,500 days except to say one thing. They were good days, for they were days filled with the friendship and support of a great many people.
Now my 20,000th day has coincided with the first time—certainly the first time since my return to Toronto; probably the first time ever—that it is possible to throw a party of any size to say thank you to some of the friends who have made a difference in the last 4,500 days. This would certainly be a larger party if space and resources allowed; it would not be any smaller.
This could be the embarrassing bit, but I have a feeling that detail would be tedious, and would accomplish little more than telling you who you are. But you all have something to do with Trinity, and I will only say that the two groups of the College that have made the most difference have been the members of the SCR, by their unfailing kindness in putting up with me (and sometimes making me work for it) and the undergraduates, now graduates, who accepted me in their community. A particular word to the class of 0T6: I think I shall come to the fifth anniversary reunion; thanks for thinking of me.
There are two guests who did not go to Trinity. I am very glad that my nephew (and neighbour) Jonathan can be here, along with his partner, Bridget Light. Jonathan is my only relative in Toronto; I love them all, but am terribly lucky in having this one here. To prove that Trinity can’t be kept out of any relationship, we should note that Bridget’s mother and uncle are Trinity graduates.
Finally, about the place. Jonathan introduce me to Café Taste and to our host, Jeremy Day. I like it here, and hope you do too. By the end of this evening I will likely be most happy that it is only a short walk home.
That’s it. Thank you all for coming; thank you all for the words and acts of friendship over all these days. Have fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Bill. -Roger Young