OF EGGS AND THE LADY

Every now and again a teacher receives a response from a student that gladdens his heart and puts to nought the years of grinding, inescapable repetition. One such occurred this morning. I was at the breakfast table and transmitting the how-to of boiling an egg to the lady at the stove, for the umpteenth time. When she came to the table, as sober as a nun, and cracked the first egg she beamed and declared: "So when people ask me what did I learn from my teacher these thirty odd years I can say I have learned how to make coffee and I'm learning how to soft boil an egg." She laughed heartily. And so did I.

Now this may not seem much to you but she was talking about making perked coffee, no matter what sort of heat source, regardless of the type of water, and no matter how high the altitude. And, of course, having the right blend, perking it the right amount of time, with all sizes of pot and without any grinds to spoil the drinker's last sip. And, what is perhaps most telling, she can pass on her knowledge to others working their way up the path behind her. That concerns the coffee. As to the soft boiled eggs she is working toward not only being able to do it anywhere, anytime, in any pot, but to be able to do it perfectly every time!

She, like the rest of us, provides and encounters plenty of obstacles to learning, but what makes her effort so commendable is she works against what is, perhaps the greatest obstacle to learning a student can face: she is married to her teacher.

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