Author: humbleswede

School Snapshots

Not having the slightest idea what to write about today, I’m trying a quick scattershot approach and seeing where it leads.  I could write about some of the odd things I’ve done recently in the course of my work.  

I’ve discussed the numbers on lockers with a kindergartener:  “That one is two hundred twenty two,  This one is two hundred ninety four. Is that the highest number?  There could be an infinity locker.  That would be hard to count to.  Hey, there’s a locker with no number.  It must be zero.”

If you noticed that I didn’t get a word into that conversation, you would be correct…and the transcription would be accurate. The child likes numbers and he likes to talk.

I’ve used a bullhorn (sometimes two) to call out names and colors in the parking lot so that kids find their cars and stand at the right-colored cone at dismissal time.  I squint at the name as the driver holds up a card signifying who they hope to pick up.  Bullhorn in hand, I’m so tempted to start calling out famous names or more interesting colors to see if anyone will notice. “Snoop Dogg to Vermillion.  That’s Snoop to Vermillion.”  So far I’ve restrained myself.

I’ve brushed someone’s arms and legs.  It’s a sensory thing.  It’s an awkward thing.

I’ve played hallway soccer with a kid who needs some movement breaks.  We have quite a competition developing.  Today the ball was missing.  It’s kind of a nerf-ish ball with a red and black plastic covering.  If you’ve seen it, please return it.  We improvised today with the only round thing we could find.  A weighted massage ball that felt like it weighed about ten pounds.  It doesn’t bounce, which is okay, since we have a rule that the ball can’t leave the floor.  It also doesn’t go very far when you kick it. And when you try to dribble it, you should not allow yourself to get too much forward momentum, or there’s a chance that most of you might keep going, but the ball and your foot might remain stationary, causing you to fall on the floor and causing your very active fourth grader to fall on the floor laughing.  That’s purely hypothetical advice for a first time “heavy ball soccer player.”

I’ve discussed business prospects with a young entrepreneur who has plans to open a fast food restaurant…well, he wants to start it as a chain, not just one restaurant.  His idea:  “Well, it’s going to be a burger place.  We’re going to serve people very quickly.  We’re going to serve a lot of cheese.  And it’s going to be easy to order, because we only serve one kind of burger.  So, Quick, Cheese, Easy.  I’m thinking we’ll call it Queasy Burgers.  Think it’ll work?”    You know, Charlie, it just might. 

I’ve contemplated the ambiguity of an inspirational quote.  Charlie, yes, the same Charlie, points to a sign in his classroom.  It reads, “There’s no I in team.”   Charlie’s observation:  “True, but if you look closely and read backward, which I sometimes do, you can find the word ‘me.’”  

Speaking of me, I’m hungry.  I think I’ll have me a Queasy Burger. 

Better Toast

I said, “I’m so hungry.“ 

I should have said, “I’ve been hungering for this moment for almost two years.”

I said, “I love this place.”

I should have said, “This beautiful borrowed house, someone else’s property, with its unfamiliar rooms, yard, and neighborhood, is proof that what makes a house a home is the people inside.”

I said, “All of this looks so great.”

I should have said, “How lucky are we to circle a Thanksgiving table together, with more than we can possibly take in, with one of us celebrating his first and another celebrating her ninety-first.”

I said, “Who are we missing?”

I should have said,  “Each of us here is missing someone important, a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, a husband, someone who couldn’t make the trip or someone who’s passed and left us yearning.”  

I said, “Where do I sit?”

I should have said,  “Maybe this year we leave one chair empty.”

I said, “Thank you all for being here.”

I should have said, “Thank you for getting boosted, for wearing masks, for squeezing babies into cars, for risking crowded planes, for shuttling a great grandmother, for setting aside your caseloads and your class notes, and for creating this incredible feast.  Thank you for letting me see your faces across a table instead of across the wires. 

And thank you for those of you who are with us only in our memories.  We feel your presence in the stories we tell and in every lull in the conversation.  We treasure the moments that have passed as much as this new moment.”

I’m grateful for all that I had and all that I have.  

I just wish I had some moments back, so I could say what I really mean.

Great grandchild finally meets great grandma.