Is there anyone who hasn't broken out in a muck sweat, or had their ears turn a telltale shade of beet red, when being called on to stand up and say something before a roomful of critics? Tonight was presentation night, three minutes of fame, when each of the students in Sra. Romo-Gonzales' Spanish class spoke--in halting Spanish--about a topic of their choice.
Some were ambitious: big photo spreads, handcrafts from Iqaluit, even a wooden hammer created specially for the event with a jig-saw. Tales of cats, of epic journeys, memorable holidays. (No, the cats weren't mine.) Each "turn" drew friendly applause. We all vied for the Presentation of the Evening award. I thought for sure most of the women would bring out endearing pictures of above-average children, and having three answering that description I decided not to go that route.
But the winner, hands down, was Sam.
Sam is a construction worker by day, and though he enjoys the classes immensely they're a challenge, and he tries not to make himself too conspicuous. He works on high roofs without a second thought, so he's not afraid to give it a go when he's called on, and stumbles through the exercises with a strong Canadian accent, looking mildly astonished when it's the correct answer.
Sam was the one who talked about his family. Showed us the little group--wife , himself and three children--and explained slowly who each of them was, their names and ages. More photos, this time the two dogs. "They don't eat much," he pointed out, "they're little dogs." Questions: "What are the dogs called?" There was a quick consultation with the teacher. "Go ahead, just call them what you call them at home." "'Puppy'," he said, "and this one's 'Doggy'".
He got the most laughter, and easily the longest applause.