My dad says he doesn't remember this story, but I do. We were moving from my birth town of Winslow, to an even smaller (if possible) town called Joseph City. It was pretty much a straight shot down the road. We just followed the railroad tracks. It was always fun to see the railroad tracks back then because both of my grandfathers were caboose engineers. We would watch the trains snake by, just so we could see the end and wave our arms, hoping by some miracle Grandpa or Grandad was there and could actually see us waving. It made us, or at least me, feel like I was part of some thing special. Then they got rid of the cabooses on trains. Seriously, they have to get rid of everything special in the world. First cabooses and now Hostess. Is nothing sacred?
Back to my story. We had loaded up a UHaul with all of our treasures in the back and bodies in the front. (family, not dead ones.....sicko!) It was a sunny day, as usual in Arizona. The drive wasn't very long, only about 45 minutes if I remember correctly. We were buzzing along when we passed a lone hitch hiker walking along the side of the road with a cigarette in his mouth and his thumb stuck out to traffic. My dad suddenly waxed poetic when he said, "you smoke, I choke, you walk, I ride." Maybe it was because something like that was so out of character for my dad that it has stayed in my head for...well...LOTS of years, or maybe it was the simplicity in making a decision. I don't think my dad would ever had picked up a hitch hiker when he had a car/truck full of kids, but because of the man's carcinogen filled exhales, the choice was very easy for him. Maybe it was my dad's statement that made me never want to smoke myself. I wanted to always be welcome in my dad's truck. I like my dad a lot.
I wish my kids still had their dad around. Brad wasn't perfect, but he was their dad. Nobody can ever really fill the place of your dad. There is a couple of boys at my school who lost their dad last summer. It was from a long illness and they were expecting it, but I can't help tear up almost every day when I see them. I see my own kids when I look at them. I see the hurt in their eyes that they try so hard to keep at bay. I wonder if the people at the schools where my kids are see that in my kids eyes?
Tomorrow is the last day of school before winter break. I found myself tearing up as I looked at the many many kids running around on the playground. I am going to miss them. It's funny, when I'm home I think of school, and when I'm at school I think of home. So many wonderful kids in my life. I am so blessed. I wish I was better for all of them. I wish I taught them wonderful things that made a difference in their lives. I want all these children to be better than me, and the best they can be. I want happiness, kindness, understanding, strength and success for all of them. I think about the horrors of last week in the news and I can't imagine it. I really can't. One of my teachers told me she thinks the man was possessed by a demon. Maybe he was. I can't imagine a human being doing something so awful.
I do the best I can. I teach my kids the importance of service, compassion, education, morals, and personal hygiene. I listen to them and talk to them and try to spend time with them. I treat the kids at school the way I pray my kids are treated at their schools. I hope that by some universal balancing act my efforts at my school actually make a difference in my kids lives. It's a mom thing...
If nothing else, I did teach the kids at school how to keep their hands warm on a cold day. They came to me flapping their long sleeves.....crying that they were freezing. I did what any kind hearted, loving, concerned person would do. I carefully tied their sleeves together in a big knot so they would be warm....and stop flapping me with them. They thought it was a great game and I soon had a line of kids waiting to be tied up in their jackets. Ah, simple pleasures....life is just a wonder when kids are in it....cause I said so.
Photo credit: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=smoking+twinkies&start=180&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&tbo=d&rls=en&biw=1366&bih=595&tbm=isch&tbnid=dWI9EXnJbWFd2M:&imgrefurl=http://www.freeenterprise.com/labor/sugar-low-union-kills-twinkie&docid=IB8hqFCz7aq9rM&imgurl=http://www.freeenterprise.com/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/media/00_LABOR_RIPTwinkies_659x439px.jpg&w=659&h=439&ei=baLSUNa6CaaOiAK5-YCgCA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=898&vpy=40&dur=201&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=157&ty=113&sig=113066672481944259300&page=8&tbnh=137&tbnw=212&ndsp=27&ved=1t:429,r:85,s:100,i:259