Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday at SLIG: the pace picks up

As the week goes on, there's more happening and less time for non-essentials like blogging and sleeping. And some of what's going on is, well, secret, like Tom Jones's mind-bending evidence-evaluation homework assignment. (Just don't sneak up behind me and say "Spotsylvania," OK?)

Even meals take on lives of their own. Two years ago on my first trip to Salt Lake City and SLIG, Leroy Atkins kindly guided me through the maze to the busy, inexpensive, and nourishing cafeteria in the basement of the Church Office Building. A group of us returned there today. On the way out we crowded into an elevator and kept on talking until somebody pointed out that no one had pushed the button to get back upstairs. (We weren't late to class, but it would have been difficult to formulate the excuse!) Supper was a gathering of ProGen Study Group and Transitional Genealogist Forum folks, accidentally coinciding with crowds who came downtown for the Utah Jazz game.

Institute-goers have a way of referring to courses by the name of the course coordinator, but some of the teaching load is carried by colleagues the coordinator brings in. I've heard Rick Sayre lecture before but I'm always surprised. I swear he doesn't talk fast, doesn't seem in a hurry, and yet all of a sudden I'm inundated with places to go and things to do and half a page behind in my note-taking or marking up the syllabus!

This day we had an unforgettable word tour of the back rooms of the world's largest map collection (Library of Congress). And his Allegheny County Fassbinder research saga makes me want to drop everything, leave my Indiana home, and spend a month camping in Pittsburgh, combining maps and city directories to put the question to my wife's grandmother's fantastically elusive ancestors there. He got the line of the day too: Maps are to genealogists as canvas is to artists, they're "something we paint our genealogy on."

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