There has been a flurry of conversations, emails and phone calls about the planned Robbie Burns Supper at the famous Terminal City Club here in Vancouver.
It’s the start of a new tradition for the St. Andrew’s & Caledonian Society.
I thought the lead up to this January 25th would be easy. With no Burns Reading Marathon to organize there would be no pressure or stress before the big day.
I thought wrong.
I should have seen this coming. As president of the St. Andrew’s & Caledonian Society I have been asked to recite one of Robbie’s poems as part of the evening’s program.
My reaction: well, that would ruin the evening.
Once again, dyslexia rears its hold over me.
My learning disability comes back to claim its place. No matter how far I’ve come with my workarounds and coping skills, the act of speaking complex words escapes me. I see the word, usually understand it’s meaning, and even hear others say it, but my brain doesn’t know how to get my voice to copy it. Simple everyday English words are fine but throw in some phrases written in the style from 1750 in Scotland and you have me crippled. My brain will misfire.
I’m contemplating the scope of this while shopping at the grocery store next door to the renowned Fraser Academy School. It’s lunch time and before I know it I’m surrounded by Hornets. That’s the school mascot and the emblem is on most of the student’s sweaters as they hover in the aisles, chatting away and looking for food to buy. I know the school well, my friend’s son went there and I’ve met many graduates.
I look at these young people with admiration and empathy, and hope they know how blessed they are. They’re safe at a place where they will learn how to get past their dyslexic burden and learn to cope much better than I ever did.
For me, school was a place of fear, never knowing when I would have to get up and read out loud. The panic of knowing I would not be able to voice many of the words floating before me on the page. The classroom was a place where I learned how to cheat to stay alive. A place where I knew I was going to fail.
If these students have those same fears, they are surrounded by teachers to take their hand and show them the way.
I bet each of these students would jump at the chance to recite the poem.
The secret is that I’m not that brave.
So why ruin a perfect meal.