Sunday, September 7


Yesterday, I attended a memorial service for the first time in my life. It was very sad and very sweet, and a lot of people showed up to remember Dr. Ryder, including the mayor and several local news crews.

Dr. Ryder's friends shared funny stories about her and there was a slideshow with photos of her in some of the most hideous glasses I have ever seen. There was also a short video of her playing the Jabberwocky song, which I missed in class for some reason.

Several times during the service, a minister got up and spoke to the audience about religious stuff and said some things that seemed sort of out of place to me. She talked for a long time about not being mad at God for causing the freak fire that took Dr. Ryder's life, because God doesn't do that sort of thing. She then said something like "the human body isn't made to withstand smoke and high heat." She then reiterated that God doesn't create freak accidents to kill people.

I think those particular lines made more people uncomfortable than just me , because Mikela asked me later, "What did you think about all that 'don't be mad at God' stuff? I thought she was going to rehash the entire autopsy." Yeah, it was weird. The minister seemed oddly defensive. It reminded me of the time I was at a wedding and the minister started droning on about divorce after the vows and after lecturing about how the man is the master of the household and the wife must obey him...just because someone is a minister, it doesn't mean that he or she is the best orator.

There was music throughout the service, and I don't know how the musicians who sang kept it together, especially at the end, when they asked everyone to do a sing-along to Joni Mitchell's "Circle Game." I couldn't even get through one line, but the woman next to me made up for it by singing very loudly. She had a gorgeous voice, too.

It sucks. Mikela said when we first got there, that it would be different if Dr. Ryder had been some curmudgeon who hated life and was indifferent to her profession and to other people. I'm sorry for all the future students who won't get to be taught Linguistics by Dr. Ryder. I only had her for one 5-week summer course and there are several time per day that I think about things I learned in her class. Someday when I get serious about learning Hungarian or Russian, I'll know how to pronounce the words correctly because she taught me the IPA chart, though I wish I had remembered to ask her how to pronounce the Russian letter Щ.

Dr. Ryder, you will be missed.

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