I was always told that pride was a bad thing. Pride, so say the people who like to say such things, comes before a fall. C.S. Lewis, a scholar and dreamer of faraway, imaginary worlds. wrote, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.”
Well, friends, I’m going to ignore Mr. Lewis’s advice. Not to challenge his view, mind – he could buy and sell me where a meaty intellectual debate is concerned. No, I am going to stick my neck out and declare myself a proud man.
I’m not proud of my own achievements, you understand. I’m still trying to wrap my head around being honoured at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest, and any time I feel I have a grip on how it feels to be presented with such a prestigious award, the knot comes loose and my feelings drift away from me again. The funny thing is: it’s a fortnight or so since it happened and I still feel nervous.
Rather, I’m proud of my friend and colleague, the world renowned Home Economist Professor Donna Pendergast. I first met her way back in 2004 at the International Federation for Home Economics World Congress in Kyoto, Japan. Since then, she has been a good friend and loyal mentor, whose advice and at counsel I have sought on several occasions. I have also been fortunate enough to visit Donna and her family on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia – at this point, the cynics amongst you will comment that I only seem to be friends with people who live in exotic, balmy places. You would of course be right, but when you hail from a frequently grey and damp Portadown, you take any chance you can get.
Donna and her family have visited with me on many occasions too – our mums have been introduced, pleasantries have been exchanged, and a longstanding friendship has been etched in rock.
Donna’s generosity and warmth is shared by her husband Jeff, a Professor in Travel Law and someone who I also count as a firm friend. They have a hyperactive bundle of joy, Kyrra, who could light up the darkest of rooms. I added to this hyperactivity by buying Kyrra her first ever iPod (in my day, you had to make do with two tin cans and a length of string). Donna’s research area is in Generational Theory and Education, and complements my work in Consumer Education. I appreciate this will sound like a stereotype straight out of an episode of Neighbours, but she has taught me how to do a proper “barbie”, and has treated me to the delights of “Damper Bread” and “Lamingtons”. On every trip she always remembers to bring me a good load of my favourite Australian biscuits, Tim Tams – if any Arnott’s representatives are reading, I will gladly take some off your hands.
While I was in Paris, Donna and Kyrra were accompanying Jeff on a working trip to South Africa. I emailed Donna to break the news of my award, and I believe she had a glass of Moet on my behalf. Last week, I returned the favour when I heard that she had been awarded a “Fellowship For The Home Economics Institute Of Australia” in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the profession. To see Donna’s achievements click here.
Yes, I realise that this is in danger of becoming a mawkish love-in, but credit where credit’s due, and Donna deserves it. She has written and co-written enough books to take up an entire shelf of her own, including Virginal Mothers, Groovy Chicks & Blokey Blokes and The Millennial Adolescent. Donna has given her all to Home Economics, and it is fitting that she is recognised for that.
Well done, Donna. I’m proud of you.