By R.C. Harvey
If the forthcoming election pans out in the way it portends to with regard to your correspondent, I’ll be trying to fill gumboots too large for even my ego—namely, those of one Virginius Cullum Rogers.
I might be able to add and subtract and come up with the same unvarying results as our retiring (but scarcely bashful) Secretary-Treasurer, but his numbers always had more flair than mere math.
I might, given a sharp enough pencil, be able to take notes and write up minutes eventually, but I’ll never be able to deliver a pedestrian truth with the same ponderous pontification Cullum can muster for the most mundane of utterances—punctuating said utterances with loftily raised eyebrow and widened orb, both of which bespeak a comedically irritated disbelief as well as astonishment that anyone could actually countenance what he was saying.
Would that I could.
Think of the continents I could conquer.
This is, after all, the gentleman who once practically put the entire Association membership on the floor laughing as he read off the tally from an unpaid bar tab from the previous evening. He is frequently able — and just as often called upon — to regale an audience with a historic tidbit or a salient quote without consulting his notes, and his 12-year tenure as Secretary-Treasurer is an AAEC record (a fact which I had to go to Cullum himself to confirm, as no one seems to remember a time when he didn’t hold the post.)
That would be enough for us to rejoice in his honor and memory. But there’s more.
No one will match his mastery of the history of our medium and of our club. No one can pluck from the shadows of the ancient past such plums as both entertain and inform our derelict modernity. And like everything he has done—from reading minutes to summarizing our lack of financial status—Cullum so obviously found pleasure in it, in the sheer verbal dexterity of it all.
Fortunately for us, he’ll still be in the audience: even if he’s not in command at the head table, he’ll be in command at the back of the room. And we’ll delight in it, as always.