Friday, June 30, 2006


Well, folks, it's time for me to live in the past for a while. The Brumback reunion is tomorrow at noonish, at the Ruritan Club in Mt. Eden. For those of you who don't know (and those who have forgotten), my granny, Attie Dennie, was a Brumback before she married Add Tincher. That was a pretty cool combination of names, Addie and Attie. She had three sisters, Blanche, Stella, and Mattie Ann. She also had a bunch of brothers, one named Marshall, and three or four others.

As to the next generation Brumbacks, there is Ruth from Aunt Stella's family, Roger and Glenn from Aunt Matt's family, and nobody from Aunt Blanche and Granny's family. Aunt Blanche had one daughter, Helen, deceased, and two granddaughters, Wilma and Wanda, who more than likely won't be there. Granny Tincher had a slew of children--Harvey (father of Pat and Marshall--not looking for them to be there), Jim (father of Jimmy, Joe, and Louie--all dead), Josephine (mother of Joanne--she won't be there), Florence (mother of Libby--she says she's coming),Ed (father of Lena (dead), Linda, Lolly, and Little Eddie--Linda says she is coming), and Anna May (mother of me and Mike--I'm going, I guess, but not Mike). Now you know about all you need to know about the family tree.

We used to have these reunions in Cherokee Park, at Big Rock in the Beargrass Creek. Those were fun times. They were always on Sundays, since folks used to work on Saturdays back then. My uncle Jess, Aunt Blanche's husband, would go to the park bright and early and stake out our area. They may have reserved it ahead of time. At our house, we would go to Sunday School. I would get to wear a skirt and shirt that day, not a dress, since we would be leaving as soon as SS was over. I would even sometimes wear my shorts under my skirt! Those of you who grew up wearing shorts to school cannot imagine the feeling of recklessness that went along with that! Right after Sunday School, we would pack up our stuff. We had an old Coca Cola cooler that Daddy would fill with ice. Mama would have fried chicken, orange ade, and my cousin Linda says she also brought corn pudding. I don't remember that, probably because I didn't eat it. I know I wanted to be in the front of the line, because my mama's chicken always went really quickly. A special treat were the bottles of pop that Uncle Ed brought--he managed a grocery store, and he always brought the soft drinks.

After the meal, we would get to wade in the creek. That was so much fun. It was considered dangerous, since rumor had it that a child had drowned there, but as long as there were a few adults with us, we could get in the water. And we were sort of taking a chance wading there, because up until then there was a very serious threat that we might possibly get polio from the creek--no one knew at that time what caused the disease, or how it was spread. My cousins Lena and Lolly both had polio. Lena was really crippled up from it,even spending some time in an iron lung, but Lolly got through pretty much unscathed.

Reunion day was really a special day. We didn't have to go to church that night, another treat. It was fun to watch the aunts be silly with each other. Aunt Matt and Aunt Jo loved to play around. Aunt Matt would do crazy things like wear two shoes that didn't match, just to be funny. When Everett was a baby, we took him to probably one of the last reunions at Cherokee Park. He had a pair of red jockey shorts (just for cute--he was still in diapers). Mama told me to put them on him, and to be sure to show them to Aunt Blanche, because she would get a kick out of them. She did, and that was probably one of the last times I saw her. She died the next spring.

Those were the good old days. I hope you are making memories for your children and significant others! Love you, and God bless.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Who'd like to go first?

I have an idea. Let's just chat amongst ourselves. Who wants to make the first comment?

Monkey Mama Makes Misstep

I started off really well today. Got up, made my bed, got dressed to my shoes, washed my face, combed my hair, started cooking breakfast, took my meds, and went out to get the newspaper.

At the end of the drive, just as I was stepping onto the road, I once again tripped over my clumsy feet and had that horrible feeling you get when the ground comes rushing up to meet you. Both knees, both hands--what a mess. I was kneeling there like Gideon's soldiers at the brook when I heard a car starting up back down the street and figured I'd better get back up and get the da-- paper. Which wasn't there.

You see, David worked in the body shop today. That meant he left really early, about half an hour before he usually leaves. At that time of the morning, the paper usually isn't here. So I get it on body-shop days. ONLY this morning, no paper in the mailbox. As I hobbled back in, I speculated on whether we had paid that bill, or whether it was one of those that we have gotten smart enough to let it be paid automaticly.

In the house, I cleaned up my poor knees with dial soap and at the same time cleaned my slightly skinned right hand. The left knee was bleeding much more than the right, but it doesn't appear to need suturing. The right one is just skinned. Neither hand is hurt worth mentioning. I went out to the kitchen, took 2 ibuprofen for the knees, got my breakfast, and checked David's end of the table. The paper was there. Apparently it came early today.

So now I'm sitting around with two skinned-up knees. I've had ice on the left one. It's swollen, but probably no broken bones. I'm wondering what kind of bandaids I need for the knees. The booboos are really too big for the cutesy ones, but I want something on them anyway. Anybody have suggestions? Love you all, and God bless.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Vacation, 3

I think we have about decided to take our vacation in Tennessee this year, unless David surprises me with something unplanned and spontaneous. Instead of going to Gatlinburg, we'll probably go somewhere between the two sissies (Lydia and Annie), if we can find a place we can stand to be for any length of time in that area. I think going off on a vacation like this is a whole lot like going on a vacation to Mt. Sterling, when it isn't Court Day--or Muddy Ford, for that matter--but parents do what they have to do to keep peace in the family.

Everett may be going camping the weekend before shutdownweek. His current idea is to leave Vernon Hills on Sunday evening, and then the three of us leave together for the boonies the next day. David says, "So it's one of those leave in the middle of the week vacations and then only stay a few days?" Sort of looks like it now.

Like I said up in the first sentence, "we have about decided". Folks, that is not final. We are still open for suggestions, although San Antonio and Phoenix are pretty much out of the picture at this time. Love you all, and God bless.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Since I be a monkey mama, I figured you would appreciate this monkey joke from

Today's CleanPun - "Monkey Poker"

Q: Why don't the monkeys in the jungle play poker any more?

A: There are just too many Cheetahs.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What constitutes a vacation, Part 2

I have found a vaccine for knock-knock jokes and silly songs! It's called posting!
Funny--when I was a kid, I thought posting was something you did on your horse when it was trotting.

On to what makes a vacation. In addition to not wanting to ride in the blessed car anymore once we get there, I also don't want to have to move my stuff in or out more than one time! I believe that is because I always take too darned much stuff, and I never know what I'll need at any particular stop. Maybe if I knew how to pack, it wouldn't be a problem. I just know I hate to haul that stuff in and out, especially when stairs are involved. And let's not even talk about how miserable it is if you pack your stuff up to leave and you end up staying another night and you can't get your trunk open, and your daughter has to go through the backseat to retrieve your stuff--we weren't on speaking terms for a while after that.

Here's another thing. I want to be able to walk to whatever I am going to do or wherever I am going to eat. If the place isn't in walking distance, I want there to be public transporation. All my life I have enjoyed public transportation, from my first train ride on.

Since you all like to hear stories, I'll tell you about my first train ride. My family was living in Eminence, Ky, about 40 miles from my granny's home in downtown Louisville. My mom liked to go visit her mom. We usually went by car. Here's the kicker--I have always, ALWAYS, been prone to carsickness. We had a regular puke stop on the trip. My folks thought that maybe making the trip from Eminence to Louisville by train would help with that carsick thing. I will admit that I really enjoyed that ride. We went through a little town called Jericho. When the conductor called out Jericho, I started singing that song about Joshua and the battle of Jericho. Since I was a cute little kid, nobody seemed to mind. I don't have a distinct memory of the trip after that.

Apparently the rocking motion of the train was not what the folks hoped it would be. What I know, because I've been told, is that I was so carsick by the time we got to Louisville, that I stayed in bed for three days. And believe it or not, I was a pretty active four-year-old!

Maybe that's why I don't like the car rides. Gee. I guess I qualify for rocket-science now. Good night and God bless.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

What actually constitutes a vacation? Part One

I have a dear friend who shall remain nameless. To this friend, any time when a person is not working is vacation. I don't feel that way. I think there is more involved.

Yesterday I tried to analyze what actually makes a vacation a vacation. I tried to figure out what I wanted or didn't want in one. For one thing, I don't really care how far I have to drive to get to my vacation spot. But once I get there, I don't want to get in the car again for any length of time. This is awkward, since my better half (and he really is) considers driving part of the vacation. Any day that DOESN'T include taking the car out for three hours or so is a bad day for him. If we DO go for one of those three-hour+ rides, there had better be something good to do wherever we end up!

That probably goes back to the childhood trips. When I was little, before we picked motels with at least swimming privileges, we would go for a ride alongside the creek to find a "wading spot". Criteria--it had to have a good place to park, and the creek had to be accessible without pylons and ropes. The first one we found (which became our favorite), Daddy said, "Well, we can go in here, but I don't think we'll be able to do much swimming! It only looks about knee deep." Ah, the deceptiveness of clear water! It was about five feet deep, which was plenty deep enough for swimming. Actually, though, we (at least Mom and I) didn't do much swimming. We sat on rocks and let the water swirl around us. We also picked up rocks to take home. Somehow those rocks weren't quite as lovely once we got them out of the creek. But we had fun.

Going to the wading place was an acceptable drive. Also acceptable was the ONE annual trip over the mountain to Cherokee. No more than once. Daddy and Mama didn't like Cherokee all that much, and Mama was afraid of heights.

A third acceptable trip--up the mountain to the Chimneys picnic grounds. This was acceptable because we would eat there, we could wade in the creek, and we could look for bears. Gee, that was the whole point of the mountain drives, as far as we were concerned, seeing the bears. The parks system has done us all a disservice by removing the bears from the sides of the roads! Who wants to ride all that distance just to see mountains? One trip to the picnic grounds was especially memorable--a bear came down the creek while folks were wading!

Otherwise, just let me stay put. I don't want to spend my whole vacation doing recreational car riding.

Love everybody, and God bless.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My mini-vacation

I went to Nashville this past week. I didn't get to see the Grand Ole Opry or the Parthenon or anything like that, but I sure did get to see a lot of the drivers' licensing bureau! (Well, not a lot really, but I saw it for a loooooooooong time.)

Ann and Daniel agreed to put me up in their living room for two nights, which was nice, and I in turn agreed to help Ann do some things she couldn't get done without access to a car. We managed to get to Big Lots, assorted thrift stores and Dollar Stores, Target, Wal-Mart, Kroger's, the Social Security office, and above-mentioned drivers license place. Those places are all within about a ten-mile distance of Ann's apartment.

Unfortunately, on the third day, when house guests and fish begin to stink (just ask Ben Franklin), I was stupid enough to try to open my trunk by pulling up on my car key. It bent, really bad. I was already not in a great mood, since I had been there longer than I anticipated (by about three hours), was missing a good party, and was going to have to drive after dark on the BG Parkway (not a good idea). Ann got the key straightened out enough so that I could get the car started, but then the key wouldn't come out of the ignition, so I was forced to leave it there and to leave the doors unlocked. Not good, especially when a person has to attend to nature at a rest stop or something.

Daniel was sweet enough to offer to take us to supper, so I decided right then and there to stay another night and try going back on Friday. After supper, Ann crawled through the back seat into the trunk and pulled out stuff I would need for the night--I had already packed. Then Daniel offered to take us to the Opry Land Mall. Since we had spent the better part of two days shopping, that didn't interest me. So he decided to cook curry instead--I don't know why, but Ann says that he does that a lot a while after supper, when he decides he hasn't had enough to eat.

Sooooo at 9 o'clock Nashville time (10 o'clock in KY), Daniel and Ann start working on curry. They decided to try out the food processor that Ann had gotten from Granny's stuff. It works great--it's just noisy as heck. Pretty soon we hear a stomping on the ceiling of their apartment--apparently the neighbors didn't appreciate the racket. They went on with their cooking, but cut everything else up by hand. The curry was ready about 11:30 KY time, and yes, I did eat some, and NO, it didn't interfere with my sleep. It was pretty good! The next morning I left and drove almost straight back to KY.

A side topic: Ann and Daniel are both pretty darn good cooks. They're not afraid to try new things and seem to learn from their mistakes, which is something more of us ought to do! Ann fixed a great Rachel Ray recipe for chicken and dumplings, she had a good taco dish for lunch the day I got there, she fixed some interesting hamburgers that were well-seasoned (and she knows now there was too much seasoning in them), and Daniel fixed a good chicken curry. We don't have to worry about them starving to death.

In addition, I got to witness the way they interacted with each other, just normal banter, and they are great friends. I really appreciated that. It looks like they are each other's best friends, not just each other's spouses. They are excited about their apartment and are slowly gathering some furniture. They get excited about the littlest things, like a new mop bucket or a new dust pan, and are seemingly content to make do with what they have until they get newer stuff. I don't think I heard a single cross word the whole time I was there.

They are also excited about their church. They took me to see it. It was after dark when we got there, so I didn't really get to see the lovely landscaping. But it was lit enough for me to see the fountains and some of the gardens. The church is WAY small, only about 10 people--after all, it is a church start! I think that is pretty neat, that they are having a married-life start and participating in a church start at the same time. The pastor and his wife are friendly to them, which is nice--they even went out to eat with them on Sunday. I think that's going to be a good church for them. I just wish it were a little larger, but it will grow.

I guess that's enough for now, folks. Good night, and God bless.

Monday, June 12, 2006


I can't get it out of my system. Summer is the only time for vacations, and only when school is out, of course. No, all those years teaching in the year-round system didn't change my mind. Summer is vacation time.

Lydia wants to know about vacations when I was a child. Starting in 1956, when I was 9 and Mike was 6, every family vacation was in Gatlinburg. Vacations almost always started the week of July 4th, especially if the 4th was on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. That way Daddy got an extra "vacation" day. We would load the car and start out pretty early in the morning or maybe even the afternoon after work. Packing usually consisted of a suitcase each for Mom, Mike, and me, a cardboard box with the iron, toaster, and maybe waffle iron, and about 20 paper sacks. (Daddy was big on packing in sacks)

The ride down to Gatlinburg was often broken up by a night's stay at Corbin. First it was Yeary's motel, then when we got old enough to enjoy swimming pools, it became the Holiday Motel and later the Holiday Inn. When we stayed at Yeary's, we took a croquet set--mind you we were only there one night, but Daddy wanted us entertained! He would set up the croquet set in the Yeary's front yard. Of course Corbin wasn't the first stop--back in those days, you had to stop for gas ever other town, or so it seemed to me. We were allowed to buy a treat at ever other gas station--fun, fun.
You know, I don't remember but once going to Cumberland Falls! That's probably because Daddy was afraid we'd fall into the river, and Granny was afraid of heights.

For years we stayed at the same place in Gatlinburg, Cox's Moonwink Motor Court. We often had the same little rental unit! That was how Granny knew to pack the iron and toaster--they had an ironing board and toaster, but she liked hers better. Sometimes she even took her electric skillet. Moonwink didn't have its own pool--it had "swimming privileges" at another motel. We could really jam folks into those units--one summer we were already in town and ran into friends of the family on the street. They had two sons around Mike's age and a little daughter, sort of an afterthought (maybe eight years younger than the younger son). Daddy asked them where they were staying and they didn't have a place yet, so he offered to let them stay with us--a three-bedroom unit with 9 folks in it. Do I need to say we were well acquaint by the time they left?

I'll share more on the next post. Start planning YOUR vacations, so that you can make memories for YOUR kids to blog about! And Everett, buy a lottery ticket! I promise you Grandma won't mind. If she does, Grandpa and Granny will set her straight. Love you, and God bless.

Friday, June 09, 2006


VBS is over for another year. The first-graders visited a Hawaiian volcano tonight. I don't know why we were there. Our commandment was "You shall not covet." Of course they were pretty clueless about what coveting was, other than that it was a bad thing. The teachers in the volcano area performed a skit about Ahab, Nabob (or whoever he was), and the prophet Elijah. Apparently Ahab was coveting N's vineyard. As background information, the teacher introduced some of the vocabulary, like vineyard and prophet. She asked the kids what a prophet was. One said she thought a prophet was a winemaker. A second one said she thought a prophet was a chair--now where in the world did that come from? Don't you sometimes wish you could be inside a little kid's head for a while and see where they get their ideas?

The teacher also read the kids a story about a cat who lived in a church. Towards the end of the book, the cat was getting old and sick, and the vet suggested they have it euthanized. (I think she said "help it die") A youth who was working in the department asked me where cats went when they died. I told him some folks believed that their pets would be in Heaven with them. He then asked me, what if you have a really evil pet? I jokingly said, I guess it would go to pet Hell. Then I told him that I thought cats and other pets just decomposed and enriched the soil. Then he wanted to know what made them alive in the first place? I pretty much didn't want to go there, because I could see the possibility of a question like, why are people different from other animals? and I didn't feel like discussing that with a 13 year old. Anyway--at the end of the story (which had been going on while the two of us were talking) he said, I'm going to tell those little kids what really happens to pets when they die. I told him that probably wouldn't be a good plan, so he didn't do it.

At the end of the VBS commencement tonight, Brother Mac presented the same message he has been giving to the kids for the last four nights. They had an altar call, and I guess there were close to 15 kids who expressed an interest in learning more about how to be saved. That was rewarding, I know, for Mac. Three of family interest--Darlene's granddaughter, Peyton, and Rob's two oldest children, Benjamin and Sam. That Sam is one deep thinker. I wish I had a chance to work with their group.

Boy, I love working with kids--but in small doses! And I am really enjoying working with what I used to call the regular ed kids. It's fun to talk to some smart little folks once in a while. Now that VBS is over, I'll have to go a little more into the reinventing process. I don't guess I can make the rest-of-my-life's work (as Suze mentioned in her blog the other day) something as mundane as embellishing flip flops or knitting little hats. Not that I don't enjoy doing either, there just doesn't appear to be much of a call for it! Love you all, and God bless!

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Before I get into the title topic, was I, the victim of AOL and dial-up, the only one who had problems with blogspot yesterday?

Second off-the-topic topic: David and Faye are the parents of a new daughter, Amber Elizabeth, approximately 41 pounds, 41 inches long, and, thank God, 5 years old. Congratulations to them! There will be a drop-in party to celebrate Amber's-coming-into-the family on Saturday, June 10, from 12:oo on, at David and Faye's house.

Now to the topic, VBS! I never thought I'd be writing about something like this, but hey, it's a blog--I have my permission to write whatever I want! I love the kids at VBS. I am looking forward to each night, just to see them and interact with them. Ann, you'll be glad to know that Haley, Grace, and Addie have been there every night.

Grace seems to recognize me--she looks right at me. She had a hard night on Monday. I was standing outside the bathroom waiting for one of my kids, and Emma J was washing Grace's hands--no clue what they had done, but it was messy. Emma said they had a rough time, that Grace sat in her lap and cried the whole first hour. (God put Emma there on purpose) I chatted with Grace--she wanted to know if she could ride with me. I told her no, that she had to wait for her mommy, and she seemed okay with that. She even came back and sat in my lap at oen of the group exercises. Last night, Haley had remnants of some sort of face paint around her eyes. I said something to Kelly about it, and Kelly said, "Well, it started off as eye shadow and then turned to magic marker. We tried to get it off, but I think it will just have to wear off." She is a great mom for those girls! And baby Henry is looking fine.

Then God saw fit to put me in the same department as Alex--I don't know what it is about these Alexes in my life! On Tuesday during Mr. Mac's visit to the class (more about Mr. Mac later), Mr. Mac was discussing Heaven, and how there would be no more death in Heaven, no more cemetaries, no more funeral homes--Alex raised his hand and asked, "What about Kentucky?" Interesting comment, huh? Shows he was listening, anyway. We've had a feeeew behavior issues, but they've been manageable. I could recognize when he just needed a little time by himself away from the group, and could talk him out of some of his acting-out things. My friend Julie is right, I'm not finished with children yet!

The best thing about VBS is watching the kids listen to Mr. Mac. Ira McMillan is a pastor and has been for over 60 years. He comes in each evening and does an evangelistic message with the kids for about 10 minutes. These normally rambunctious former-first, nearly-second graders sit so quietly for him. They remember what he has told them the nights before, and they watch and listen to every word he says. On Tuesday night, he showed them a black construction-paper heart and talked about how sin made our hearts like that. Then last night, he took a red heart out of his folder and covered the black heart. He told them the blood of Jesus would cover the sins in their hearts. And then (friend-who-shall-remain-nameless, are you listening?), he took out a white paper heart and covered both the red and black hearts and said, "This is the way our hearts look to God after Jesus has covered our sins." That was a message I think they all took in. A couple of little ones by me whispered to me, "I can still see the black/red heart." I replied, yes, you can see the ones he's holding, but can you see the one inside you? They smiled, they understood.

Witnessing the faith of a little child--one of Jesus's most important messages! Remember, he always had time for the children, and he always accepted them the way they were, skinned knees, runny noses, and all. And they accept him the same way (the KIDS' skinned knees and runny noses, not Jesus's!), no questions asked. Do you suppose they have any idea that what they are doing when they choose to accept Christ into their life will affect their whole life? I remember when I made a profession of faith at age six. The most important thing to me was to go home and witness to Mike, age three--he needed to know how to be saved and how to have Jesus in his heart! I also know that there were many times over the years that I doubted the validity of that early profession. But I truly believe that the Jesus I trusted when I was six was the same one who saved me then and has covered all the sins in my life, past, present, and future. Good night, and God bless.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I used to know a guy who always used acronyms when he talked. I thought that was really mean, especially to folks who had no idea what he was talking about, but since he didn't much seem to care what I thought, I just kept it to myself. For the three or four of you who read this blog, I imagine that you know that VBS stands for Vacation Bible School.

When I was a child, VBS was one of the highlights of the summer. The first time I remember anything at all about that summer highlight, I remember going to a VBS picnic and getting to ride in the pastor's motorboat. I cannot to this day imagine my mother, who was afraid of water, would take me out on that thing, but she did.

VBS really was something in my home town. All the churches had their schools the same week, at the same time, so you didn't get to church hop from one VBS to another, like kids do today. They always kicked off with a bicycle parade through town. All the kids (and probably many of their parents) spent a lot of time decorating bikes for the parade. I remember my main goal with my bike was to make it to the whole end of the parade and not to have to drop out somewhere along the way because I couldn't pedal any more. It wasn't until I grew to adulthood and David tried riding my bike, that I found out it wasn't ME who couldn't make the trip, it was the bike--it wasn't ride-able. It looked good enough, but even Charles Atlas would have a hard time pedalling it up a hill--I don't mean a MOUNTAIN, I mean a hill, just a little old hill!!

Back to VBS. In the olden days, we went for a full two weeks, from 9:00 in the morning until 12:00 noon. Ladies, rejoice. Now we only go for one week, 2 hours a day, and one of those days is commencement! So we have gone from 30 hours to 8. We've lost a lot along the way, though. There isn't time for the traditional opening exercises. I remember all the kids trooping in by departments, sitting with their teachers, little ones trying so hard to say the pledges and being so proud when they could do all three (American flag, Christian flag, Bible). Now they have that stuff up on the screen and everyone just reads it off. We sang a different song for each pledge--that much is still the same. Then the little folks would troop out, and those of us from the age of 8 or 9 up through at least middle school would stay for the anthem, a lengthy Bible passage to memorize, the offering, and some sort of mission story or sermonette. Anybody besides me out there remember the chalktalks?

In the classes after the opening exercises, we would have an Old Testament story and a New Testament story. In the Junior department, we would work furiously to learn the books of the Bible, all 66, in order. It seems like we had a mission story--I loved the foreign mission stories! And then there were the handcrafts. Granny always worked on the handcrafts. It would almost always involve a daytime trip into downtown Louisville to buy some sort of craft material. Once it was postage-stamp size ceramic tiles; another time it was peach baskets. For a long time, we had one of those peach baskets on top of a kitchen cabinet here at the house. A third time, the Juniors made waste baskets out of ice cream buckets. Mike pasted baseball cards all over his--don't you know he regretted that later, when he found out what things like Mickey Mantle's rookie card was worth!

There were two great closing rituals at our church. One was the VBS picnic. At the beginning, we VBSers went to Cherokee Park in Louisville, but later we started staying in town and making it a family affair. My best friend's father was in charge of cooking the chicken. We had the picnic at the county fair grounds, and he would have a group of inmates dig a barbecue pit(he worked at the penitentiary). The chickens would be quartered and would cook all day on that pit. The Brotherhood (those of you who didn't grow up Baptist might not realize that was the men of the church) would supervise the cooking. My dad always prided himself on being the one who came up with the bright idea of using children's mops to put the BBQ sauce on the chickens. Only God knows what they did before that.

The second ritual was the commencement. Each age group would get up and perform, reciting Bible verses, singing songs, the Juniors saying the books of the Bible--and all of us girls went through the four-year-old stage of showing our panties to the world! After that, the parents would go for a tour of the classrooms to see the work we had done and to check out our workbooks--yes, we had VBS workbooks! Then it was all over until the next year.

Tonight was the first night of VBS at Georgetown Baptist. Now all the VBSes around us are themed. Ours is something about Time Travel, with an emphasis on learning the 10 commandments. We have a really neat "ark of the covenant" on display at the front of the church, with marble-slab ten commandments inside. There is a window so that we can see them. I was really impressed with the work--it looks great. Turns out the local monument maker carved the commandments on the old marble slab that used to cover the baptistry, and George W made the ark. He was going to stain the wood (looks like a first-class coffin), but he and Paula did a little research and saw that it was supposed to be overlaid with gold, so they gilded it. Like I said, it looks great. I told Paula to keep her hands off it! We don't want to lose our VBS director the same way David lost Uzziah!

I went in tonight intending to register kids and then come home, but instead, I'm helping Eddie with the first-graders. Tonight we were in the medeival castle (also known as the office suites, but now with a drawbridge and moat). Tomorrow night we will be in a Mayan jungle. The other destinations include a mad scientist's laboratory, a hawk's nest, and a volcano. All I have to do is help with crowd control. At one time tonight there were five adults and ten children, so crowd control isn't much of an issue. Things have surely changed!

I'll report more on VBS later this week. Good night, and God bless.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Fantastic news!

My cousins are almost over their legal battles to get another child! For those of you who don't know these terrific people, you have no idea what you are missing. For those of you who do, please thank God that He saw fit to give this child a wonderful home. And while you're at it, please let the above-mentioned cousins know how much you appreciate all they're doing for the world!

On to a different matter: How much anonymity should one use in blogging? I almost always hesitate to mention names, except for immediate family members--and sometimes I wonder if they want their names left out! However, it seems really awkward to write about situations like the above one without naming the people who were involved. I really feel they deserve credit for their deeds. The same goes to the mother and the friend mentioned in "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". Still, I want to respect their privacy. But again, who in the heck reads this thing?

By the way, I am over my funk. Apparently the cops were not called in after my evening raid, so I guess all is well that ends. Goodbye, and God bless.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Good first--I went to an eighth-grade graduation today. It was good. I was invited by the mother of a former student who seems to think that I was a big source of help to her and her son. The mother is one of my heroes. I wish I had the strength she has. The son is sensational. He has been one of my favorite kids ever since the day he and another third-grade boy made a drawing of a space creature. When I asked him what the name of the creature was, he replied, "Poop." I asked him where it was from. His reply, "Uranus." I honestly believe the child had no idea what he had said. I still have Poop on my refrigerator, although he made it almost five years ago.

The mother gave me far more credit than I deserve for the way I had encouraged her son. Truthfully, all I did was love the boy. I recognized some of his potential and realized that some of the things "every third grader needs to know" were things he already knew or had no need for. One day while he was in my class, his mom had serious neck surgery. He was rightfully very worried about her. That day he spent the entire school day outside the open door to my classroom stretched out on the floor and reading a book. I knew there was no way he could attend to whatever lesson I was trying to teach. He seemed to appreciate the privilege, and I know I didn't have to discipline him at all. In the years after that, he often came to my room for a quick chat or a hug. I think he sensed that I genuinely liked him as a person. I did then, I do now, and I intend to like and support him in the future. I know God has great things in store for him.

Now the bad: I finally went back into the school this evening to get "my stuff". (Like all you are saying, all she needs is more stuff!) ((That is even more ridiculous in the light of the fact that I took a carload of stuff to Faye's house last week for her yard sale!)) A good friend convinced me that I should take my things before the scavengers got to them. That way I could be sure that they were where I wanted them to be, especially since I had paid for them with my own money. I didn't want to do that at first. I had bought almost all of that stuff for my little children at school, and I wanted them to be able to use it. However, when I got to the school, I saw that all the materials I had bought had been stored away in the closets or file cabinets and weren't being used. After seeing that, I had no qualms about getting them out of there. For one thing, Faye can use some of them for Amber and Gracie, and I can use others with Alex and Mapoopis. This was good material, folks, things carefully selected to appeal to special needs children (and most young children, for that matter). It was a draining experience.

And last (and least) the ugly. I am sitting here wrapped up in a blanket because I am exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I don't know why doing something like moving those things should be so exhausting, but it was. I guess it was just another realization that that door is closed and will never be open again. I looked at the names of the sweet, sweet children whom I would never teach again and had ugly thoughts about their future. The ugly thoughts have to go. I must realize that just because I wanted to work with the children differently does not mean that my way was the only way or the best way. I must realize that someone else can love them and guide them better than I could. I just don't want to let their sweet faces or sweet spirits go. I want them to be able to develop the same kind of friendship with their teacher that Poop's creator had with me, and I am afraid that might not happen. I want them to feel respected and loved, that they are worthwhile human beings. I must realize that there are other teachers who can love them and respect them, and I must be willing to let those teachers work with them. I have to get over this, people. Here I am, crying again, and it's been months since I left that classroom. I knew there was a reason I hadn't been there before now, and I probably should have stayed away.

Back to the good again: My great, great friend, who stayed after school to help me box up my teaching days. I will always love and respect that friend. Thank you is not enough. Friendship with that person is one thing I took away from school that I will always treasure. Good bye, and God bless.