I nudged my daughter, whispered, "Bruce," and nodded toward the statue. My daughter looked at the pigeon on the statue's head and she and I looked at each other out of the corners of our eyes. We started to giggle.
Bruce was a pet pigeon at our local vet's office where I used to buy our cat food when the kids were little. The receptionist told me that Bruce was a bird she rescued and that he didn't like many people. But Bruce liked me, and he liked to sit on my head while I purchased cat food at the counter. Bruce is gone now, but stories about him live on in our family.
As the outdoor lecture began, I felt like pinching myself. I know I'm a homeschooling nerd, but hearing an articulate and knowledgeable professor speak about a topic he loves - and a topic we happen to be studying at the moment - is such a great opportunity, and I felt happy and grateful to be there with a child who was equally as excited to hear what he had to say. Of the lectures we've been attending about the Civil War, she said, "This is the one I really wanted to hear!" (Though it turns out this lecture about literature hasn't been her favorite. She liked the lecture on Civil War nursing better. I preferred the literature one.)
I guess you could call it a "living lecture" in the same way we call great books "living books." I also thought, as she and I listened to the lecture and later discussed it, that years of reading aloud provides stamina to listen to a lecture that didn't have any visual aids or props. It wasn't difficult for her to follow the lecture and pick out ideas and information that interested her, even though at age 12, she was by far the youngest person in the audience.
My daughter seemed surprised when the professor mentioned books she has read and then mentioned his college students are unfamiliar with the literature. I'd like to think she got an understanding that evening of how rich her education is, but then again, maybe giggling at Bruce the pigeon with her mom is what she'll remember about the lecture.