I cannot let this day pass without noting that it is the anniversary of the birth, in 1870, of Dr. Maria Montessori, better known to friends of the decanter as St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method.

My fellow port-swillers may or may not know that I originally coined that title as a gentle joke about Mrs. R’s fervent devotion to her career as a Montessori teacher.  I must have first started using it nearly 20 years ago.  To this day, Mrs. R still doesn’t think it’s s’damn funny.

I’m just amusing myself, of course.

School starts up again next Tuesday for the younger gels, both of whom will be in the “upper elementary” program this year.  This is the middle gel’s final year and she will be the oldest gel in the school by two grade levels.  In her quiet, subtly ambitious way, she is thrilled at the prospect of getting to be Queen Bee of the school this year, with visions of fat parts in the school play and concerts, newspaper editorship, fundraising chairs and all-around student leadership.

The youngest gel will be starting her first year of the three year upper-el program.  Fortunately, the teacher is made of stern stuff.  He’s also well aware of the gel’s reputation as a motor-mouthed dynamo, so I have every confidence that he will be able to channel all that energy productively.  We should be careful, however, because if that one’s incandescence ever gets focused like a laser beam, somebody’s going to get scorched.