The immediate past moved by too fast. The graduate class with Hayward was fun, but some of the days were short bits of fog that I seemed to move through all-too-fast. I sort-of remember trying to argue that Andrew Jackson had some virtues, but not quite what Sean Wilentz would have, that Lincoln was settled, and that’s all there is to that. I then spent the next two weeks showing the daughter of a Hungarian friend around the vastness of this unexplored country. She is a smart and hard-working sixteen year old who could have contributed with ease to the conversation on rock ’n roll on this blog since she knew every tune of the last fifty years (but, in the end, a true fan of the blues). Also every movie. So it came quite naturally for her to say, first thing, when standing at the Lincoln Memorial--"Oh, this is where Forrest Gump stood"! She was struck by the twists and turns in the freewheeling language that was now liberated from the classroom. Living in it, her good ear noticed how it jumps and shouts and turns and twists; she noticed its jazz-like incomplete vastness, and she liked it. Whether my trips are on Isabella or my VW Jetta (diesel, by the way, 58 miles to the gallon; although Isabella is faster!), I stay impressed by the vastness of the country and by the Americaness of it all, motley and sundry, but undeniably one. She also noticed this mysterious binding force and was sometimes awed by it, sometimes amused, yet always somehow comfortable and at home. The words stranger and guest have been redefined in this fat country.