Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Beau Goes to McGill

In the fall of 1999 Elizabeth began her studies at McGill University’s Faculty of Music. From the outset she loved her studies and all that music had to offer.  At the start she was in a general faculty program with a major in classical piano. Later on she connected with her first love and switched to jazz piano.

            At this time, Elizabeth was sharing a ram-shackled pad with good friend Kristen.  The two spent most of their time at McGill, except for particularly blustery winter days, when the trek seemed just too long and the house a little too warm to leave.   Beau never seemed to evince any particular interest in Elizabeth’s musical life – to him a treat or a piece of cheese had much more value than a Bach fugue or the best jazz tune.

            December came, and with it exam time at the end of the term.  December in Montreal also means snow and cold.   It so happened that the two arrived simultaneously that day as Elizabeth made the trek to the music faculty to pick up a take-home exam, with Beau in tow.

            She arrived at the faculty and tied Beau up so she could go inside and collect her exam paper.   The noble dog, accustomed as he was to the comforts of central heating, ideally, in front of a roaring fireplace was not predisposed to sit outside in a Montreal winter snowstorm.  Humans did not study in the snow, so why should he have to wait in snowy conditions. Unfortunately for Beau, and for the ill-prepared Elizabeth, the exam was not a take-home, but a sit-in.  So, already arriving late, and having little choice, she sat down and began to write.  Somehow the professor became aware of the dilemma Elizabeth faced (no doubt the indignant barking outside the ground level classroom tipped him off).  He asked the class if anyone had any problems with Beau coming in while Elizabeth wrote the exam.  No dissenters were recorded and Elizabeth went outside to summons the dog.

            Beau didn’t say a lot, but it was obvious from the gleam in his eyes that he liked the idea.  The heating system worked.  The room was quiet.  And the ambiance, oh, the ambiance, seemed to connect with his spirit.  He thought of the Brott brothers and Oscar Peterson – the giants of the McGill musical tradition.  He thought of Wilder Penfield and Sir Ernest Rutherford and their work just across University Street.   Elizabeth was a McGill student.  Her dad, Glen, was a McGill graduate.  His brother, Eric, was a McGill graduate.  Was it not only right and proper that he, too, should take his place at McGill to fully develop his skills and knowledge?

            The exam passed uneventfully.  Elizabeth put on her coat and mitts and she and Beau slipped out into the magic of a Montreal winter.

            Interestingly enough, even after his education at McGill, Beau still failed to manifest any particular interest in Bach, or jazz.  His love of treats and cheese remained undiminished.  Some things just never change.

Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award

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