Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Marrying Don Quijote

Today, I spent the day at the Dwight Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey. I had two activities there. The first was a leaders meeting for Teens Talk About Racism next week and the second, was a visit from the pages of fiction by none other than Don Quijote de la Mancha.

Now, I know that Don Quijote is an idealist and some people say that he chases windmills a little too much. They recommend that he pull his head out of the books to face "the real world." They even try to tell Don Quijote that the lovely maiden he is defending is less than maidenly. He won't hear of any such slander for she is, "Dulcinea," his sweet one.

Don Quijote was Cervantes'invention more than four hundred years ago, but the character has taken over.

My husband, Spanish and Ethics teacher, Joe Murphy, brought the real Don Quijote back through the dimensions to visit the fifth grade class of Janet Glass or "La Reina Blanca." Well, Joe Murphy is just the medium because the man I saw in that classroom today was not the man that I have been married to for 31 years. Joe Murphy has magic powers that can pull Don Quijote right off the page to bring him into the hearts and minds of children.

With my own eyes, I saw Don Quijote fighting the monstrous items found in the classroom with a sword. Some may have called those items speakers, statues and light fixtures, but Don Quijote assured the class that he was fighting the terrible dangers of the world - the "cruel monsters," as he put it. He even dubbed a couple of young men as knights, while he was visiting, and he inspired a love of adventure that the students will not forget.

At one key moment, a student asked Don Quijote what music he liked. Don Quijote simply began to sing a romance while he clapped. "I like my music, mi musica, I like it, the romance," he sang in Spanish, while dancing a little jig shuffle. Immediately, all of the children began to sing and clap the spontaneous song with him, swaying in place.

Together, with Don Quijote, we all traveled to a land where justice prevails, where dignity and inner beauty win acclaim and devotion and where fidelity to one's deepest values is more prized than gold.

When Don Quijote and I walked back to my husband, Joe Murphy's office, I asked him if he knew that one day, many years later, there would be a man who would bring him back to life.

Don Quijote looked me square in the eye and sent greetings from the past to this Joe Murphy.

How lucky am I to have married such an emissary. It's as close as any modern woman has ever come to marrying Don Quijote, himself.

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