"So who is this?" James asked the professor. "Sophie's little sister?"
"No, just a girl on the curb watching Bobby's ROTC parade."
"That looks like a smile she put on just for the camera."
"I think so. As I recall she wasn't exactly thrilled being there with her parents."
"These are folks waiting to join the parade as it enters the fairgrounds. It occurred to me that not one of them--child nor adult--likely had any idea who St. Catharine of Siena was."
"Nor do I!"
"Well, you should know she was an acetic and mystic who experienced celestial visitations and allegedly carried on long conversations with Christ himself. A prodigious writer who employed the beautiful Tuscan vernacular of the fourteenth century. Her work ranks among the great classics of the Italian language."
"Catherine once said that 'whether in the cloister or in the world, we must ever abide in the cell of self-knowledge, which is the stable in which the traveller through time to enternity must be born again.'"
"Ah, the Greek admonition of 500 BC."
"Precisely. Anyway, that Cub Scout troop had to wait until Bobby and the rest of the cadets marched through."
"In this one I think Bobby sees you with the camera."
"He does. In my pride and enthusiasm for taking snaps of my boy in uniform, I didn't realize I was embarrassing him."
"Kids are like that, aren't they? I remember how I felt about my dad for a while, before I grew out of it and suddenly discovered what a great guy he actually was."
"Yes, but in this instance I should have backed off. Especially since just a few minutes earlier he'd seen Joe kissing Sophie. In this picture it's clear he felt I was being intrusive. Which of course I now deeply regret."
"Nevertheless, these failures have a way of sticking in our memories."