Sunday, August 23, 2015

School Daze. A Haze of Memory from 9th, 7th, and 4th Grades.

Good heavens, I never knew a beehive could stand so tall.  Those girls ratted and ratted and teased and teased in the wee hours of the morning, preparing me for my initiation day, the first day of 9th grade, the first day of high school in a brand new city—brand new state.  I had miracle of miracles made the dance high-kick team and after practicing in the grueling heat all summer, this was the day they introduced the dance team freshmen to the rest of the much older high school world.

After the older girls matched my hair to the 70’s, they put me in a skin tight brown polyester dress with embroidered flowers that barely covered my bosom but still managed to hit my ankles.  As the sleeves fluttered in the wind, I gulped back tears, wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into. 

I had so much makeup on that I didn’t even recognize myself when they pranced me in front of the mirror, me apparently supposed to be proud of their cheap artistry. The black eyeliner rimmed me to the point that I almost signed “Cleopatra” on all my papers that first day.

I was appalled.  Mortified.  Horrified. 

And that was just the first day.

Ninth grade all around was a difficult one.  It held a mass amount of rejection, new kid on the block and all. Apparently I was so uncool that kids would swim away from me at pool parties, the tears on my face disguised as chlorine infused droplets of pool water.  Ninth grade also held my first kiss which made me want to gag and be my Daddy’s little girl forever. I still have nightmares that I am back in that town and back in that school.

I want my ninth grade son to know this:  People can be cruel for no stinking reason.  Let it roll off your back and don’t hold onto grudges and bitterness.  Forgive quickly and pray for those that persecute you or you know, swim away from you.  Continue to cling to your faith and celebrate family time.  And for crying out loud, don’t dare start kissing girls yet.  J

Cowboy boots kicked up the sawdust as my hot pink Wranglers waltzed into the show ring.  Sweetie, my black heifer was by my side, and together, we dominated the fairs and every show in between.  They would slap her grand champion time and time again, me smiling from ear to ear.  The trophies started invading every corner of my yellow bedroom.   It made Sweetie’s sassy attitude a little more tolerable to bear.

While 7th grade was a blast in the school room, what I seem to remember most are the cow shows.  It was my second year of showing, but I was finally starting to understand things like the difference between a heifer and a Hereford.  Winning, of course, was the icing on the cake.

Days of driving to the barn, washing, grooming, feeding, showing, and so forth kept me out of a lot of trouble during my teen years. God knew I wasn't going to be an athlete, so He gave me something else that would put my Dad and me on the same page. God used those days to groom in me a healthy respect for my Dad and an appreciation of his authority in my life.

 I want my seventh grade son to know this:  Your Dad is the most influential person for you right now.  He is going to teach you how to be a man.  He is going to teach you to work hard, celebrate victories, and live in reality.  Whether driving to soccer matches or church, enjoy his presence and all the wisdom he has to offer you.


Right past the large red farm gate that separated yard from pasture was the pond.  The pond held little significance to me because there were no fish in it.  It provided water for the cattle and looked pretty enough—in a murky pond kind of way--and that was about it.  One day that all changed.  Dad decided we didn’t need the pond anymore and so he got out a giant beast of a yellow machine, backhoe, I guess, and started digging large trenches so the pond would drain.

Enter my panic attack.  The so called non-existent fish were flopping and my heart was pounding to the cadence of save-the-fish.  Mason jars in tow and buckets galore, I plopped my cut off jean short self into the muck and mire.  Let’s be real here.  It was mud, pure and simple:  glorious mud that sucked my legs right under, threatening to hold me hostage forever.  Nevertheless, it might have been the most fun thing I’ve ever done, grabbing fish and tadpoles and all things swimmy, saving them in clear containers. 

We dumped what we could into the creek.  The next day, I loaded up the tadpoles, with the punctured Mason lids screwed on, and begged every other fourth grader to take one home. (Can’t you just hear the string of curse words at the 3 o’clock pick up line when kids climbed into the back seats with their new little tailed friends?)

Mrs. Whitlach, a fifth grade teacher close by, took the remainder of my orphaned tadpoles and dumped them into her large aquarium.  It might have been the nicest thing a teacher has ever done for me.

I want my fourth grade son to know this:  There is something noble about offering life to everyone and everything around you.  Even fish and tadpoles deserve a chance.  Never turn away from the tender heart God has instilled into you.  Even if the situation seems absurd, give until you can’t give anything else.  You just never know what kinds of life you will leave behind in the quake of generosity.


Anonymous said...

This is fantastic babe!

I'm thankful to be your husband!


Anonymous said...

dabbing at a tear or two here...:) Mom