Topic: "Spring Equal Knox" (3)
There is something very ominous about the advent of Spring when it is dark outside. At exactly 8:00 PM, GMT (George Mean Time), the configuration of angles and the resulting rays of the Sun, somehow, signaled the beginning of Spring in the Shire. That did not change the fact that it remains dark outside.
Frodo is excited about the impending visit of Gandalf to the Shire. Many years ago, Gandalf took note of Frodo, even though he sat in the last row of the lecture hall, when he read the first paper submitted for grade consideration by the Hobbit. The paper was entitled "Vietnam: Three Stars On a Cap," and it was a brief political analysis of the US-sponsored government of Nguyen Cao Ky. The Ky government preceeded the US-sponsored Thieu government, resulting from the fact that the two leaders switched jobs, perhaps in response to Frodo's paper.
Frodo's title for his paper emanated from a copy of Newsweek, which had a picture of Ky on the cover wearing, as one might expect, a cap with three stars. Since little of academic consequence had then been published about Vietnam, nearly all of Frodo's research came from news periodicals. Frodo had been warned that references such as that were dangerous, and would be harshly considered. Frodo however, was not to be deterred, because he wanted to put his thoughts down on paper, and he wanted to have someone older, wiser, judge his thought process.
When Gandalf handed the paper back to Frodo, he called him aside and congratulated him for receiving the highest grade in class. The analysis, he said, "is as good as I have read, particularly by a college freshman." Frodo protested, citing his lack of true reference material, and Gandalf dismissed the argument. "It is not the reference, it is the manner in which you presented your analysis that is important. What is your Major, Mr. Frodo?"
Frodo has often said that had he attended Cornell University, rather than the College of the Shire, and gone into a Freshman Astronomy Class under Dr. Carl Sagan, that Frodo would probably have become an astronomer. That is the impact that Gandalf had on the Halfling from that day forward.
Many times Frodo feels he has let Gandalf down, by failing to meet many of the goals that Gandalf set for Frodo. Many times Frodo let things slide by, just because he knew that he could get away with it. Frodo thinks about that nearly every day, and tries harder and harder so that he can do better in his own mind, than he did for Gandalf. Frodo is so much more than he would otherwise have been had it not been for Gandalf.
Frodo and Sam will share an evening with Gandalf and his life's companion. It will be dark outside for sure, but who says that Springtime exists only in the sunshine?