I miss my faculty colleagues since retirement, but luck has been with me and I now enjoy daily association with new colleagues; Daisy is on my left and her colt, Buddy, is on my right. Notice that gender distribution shows balance that was never achieved by the former faculty group.
These new colleagues are like my former ones in some ways: they are friendly, tolerant of my shortcomings, tenacious of their opinions, and may be more intelligent than they appear. They aren't conversationalists so they wouldn't have added to the daily
lunchroom chats I used to enjoy. On the other hand, both burros are patient listeners and when they do get agitated or inattentive, they respond well to an arm around the neck and gentle pulls on their ears. I don't know whether that would have worked with any of my previous colleagues but I enjoy the contemplation of it.
Daisy and Buddy belong to Mary Beth, who is teaching them manners and how to be good saddle animals. They are quick to learn simple tricks (jump barrels, stand on
stumps, side-pass, etc.) but have great trouble with Go Faster, and Don't Stop. (That kind of reminds me of me. ) Buddy has grown to be much larger than Daisy and may allow me some day to use his young knees instead of my oId ones on yet another field project.
Of course, I miss relationship with students, but the donkeys never make me think of them. Well, hardly ever. There was this fellow though...
As for geological stuff, we are much pleased to have completed, finally, our work in Sonora and southernmost Arizona. We set out, full of confidence and high purpose, in investigation of a splendid hypothesis that we were ultimately unable to evaluate. That sounds like failure, but since the hypothesis was neither supported nor disproved, it remains as splendid as ever --as good as new. We continued to work on the same rocks
in the same area and ultimately discovered a geological history we had not dreamed of--stories far more interesting than that damned splendid hypothesis. The fact is that patient, thoughtful, high-mileage field work will almost always wrest good stories from rocks.
These most recent stories are in GSA Special Paper 393 (McKee, J. W., McKee M. B., and Anderson T. H., 2005, pp. 481-507. ) Some earlier work in Zacatecas is in the same volume (Anderson, T.H., Jones, N. W., and McKee, J. W., 2005. pp. 427-455.) Oh what fun we had in those days!
I still hope to write my opinion of the origin of the entire Sierra Madre Oriental and may yet do so. If so, I hope my work will not be an embarrassment to my colleagues. Either set.