In this Retirement Home there is a lecture every weekday evening at 6:30. This for our entertainment and cultural improvement. When we first arrived here we were anxiously waiting for the doors of the auditorium to open every evening. We sat mesmerized, seeping up every word of every lecture, no matter what the subject. We listened to music lectures, author stories, political analyses, spy stories and history. We filled up on foods and dieting, folklore and tradition until our departments of useless information were literally bursting.
One of the problems with these lectures is the time: 6:30 to 7:30, exactly the slot we keep open for dinner. Not that dinner is a long drawn-out affair with wine, appetizers and sweets, but it is dinner; so there is a permanent question, lecture and dinner or dinner and lecture?
These days we are more selective about the lectures. We read the program and then decide if we are really interested. It also helps if we’ve heard the lecturer before. Not all lecturers are born equal. Some are well versed in their subjects but are unable to put their knowledge into digestible form. I went to one lecture where the man, who clearly knew a great deal about his subject, it was the history of the pyramids in Egypt, spoke so quickly I never understood a word. He must have been told that he could not exceed one hour for his talk and tried to cram 400 years of history into 60 minutes.
Tonight we have “Beethoven in the heroic time of Napoleon”, which sounds as though it could be fascinating in terms of both war and music, so we have opted for the dinner and lecture scenario. Whatever the outcome, I know the dinner part will be good.
After word: Dinner was great. The lecture too was outstanding. The slide show of paintings of the Napoleonic battles was riveting and the lecturer went to great pains to explain the Beethoven and music connection. We will watch for her in the future.