Welcome to the em space, a staff writer's commentary page with reflections on life experiences in Logan County and beyond. Thank you for reading.

- Mary Krallmann

What happens if the front seat
is the only one left

I don't like to be late. I may cut it close, but I'm usually not late. I clearly remember the occasion when I went to hear a guest lecturer and arrived at the last minute. It was at a church-affiliated school, and the dean of chapel was serving as usher that night. He strongly believed that people should sit in front. He was a short man with thick glasses, and I suppose he could see people better if they weren't so far away. I'll have to agree that it must be disheartening for a speaker to face rows and rows of empty seats.

I was with a small group of friends. I've forgotten what delayed us, but as we arrived, the dean motioned us to the remaining empty places in the first occupied row. The dean hadn't been entirely successful. There were a few empty rows ahead of that.

It turned out that there was one seat too few in the row to which we were directed. As the least aggressive in the group, I was last in line. That meant I was the one left without a seat. There was nothing to do but to sit in the next row forward. The dean was gesturing, everyone was watching, and the speaker was ready to begin.


The speaker's name was Rehwinkel. He was a seminary professor, a world traveler, a historian and an author. I was prepared for an intellectual presentation. I knew of one of his books, "The Flood," which included impressive geological evidence linked to that cataclysmic event.

Dr. Rehwinkel spoke of many things. I recall his insistence on the importance of learning about the past. He urged us to be diligent in studying history. He said, for example, that we would understand Russia today if we were thoroughly acquainted with the Russia of the past.

Although Professor Rehwinkel was aging, he had a commanding presence. The seating arrangement had put me on the spot, but I felt privileged to be in close proximity to this recognized scholar.

In the course of his opening remarks he found an opportunity to call attention to the fact that I was sitting in a row by myself. He suggested it would be well if some nice young man would come and sit with me.

No one did, but I still smile at the memory. Professor Rehwinkel noticed me. He wouldn't have if I hadn't been sitting alone in front.

A number of years later I was visiting a bookstore connected with a church publishing house and found the biography Professor Rehwinkel had written about his wife and her work. She had been a doctor in the days when woman doctors were rare, and, what is more, she had practiced medicine in Wyoming when it was a primitive frontier.

I recognized the name and bought the book as my fitting tribute to the distinguished professor who thought that some young gentleman should come and sit with me.




A few years after writing this account for a class assignment, I shared it with a new friend, and he invited me to sit with him in church. So I did.

(We sat toward the back.)


[Mary Krallmann]     



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