Nobody left to run with anymore. Nobody left to do the crazy things we used to do before—no! Nobody left to run with anymore.
—“No One To Run With,” by the Allman Brothers Band
This is it. The last day of the semester before we go on Christmas break for two weeks. The day already has a weird vibe to me and my only thought is that I’m too sentimental about first days and last days and memories and history. Every day we make history. I care to see it and know it and remember it and that weighs on your moods and perceptions of things and eighth graders you know real well in particular.
Coco comes in and asks if I wouldn’t mind having a few seventh graders sit in here with me. The girls have finished their exam already and we had them in the great room but they seem a little itchy and need someone to watch over them.
The girls in the group ask if they can sit on the floor in the back of the room and play cards.
So they go sit down in the back of the room to play cards. Like older men. Real cards. Real bickering.
Hap comes bouncing in and hands me an envelope with no name on it.
I asked him how come he knew the envelope was for me.
Hap said none of the envelopes had names on them.
I asked him if this was my Christmas teacher gift.
Yeah! Hap bounces back out.
I open it. I’m guessing every teacher is getting a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble from Hap.
Jimmy Joe bops in with an extra credit project. Slavery in the South is the name of it. Many pages of words and cut and pasted pictures. Any and all extra credit projects were due yesterday so I’d have time to grade them and get the grade in the grade book. But God forbid I’d remind Jimmy Joe for the one millionth time. I glance through it while he’s standing there watching me, very carefully, glance through it. I look up at Jimmy Joe and tell him I’m proud of him and his extra effort. Merry Christmas. I’ll give it a look see here real quick and give it a grade.
Merry Christmas to you, too!
I look at my watch and the clock on the computer and the clock on the wall just to make sure. Then I go over to the back wall and to The Georgia History Board of Knowing What’s Going On, and write … It’s Time For Christmas Break! You’re Free to Go!
All the boys ran out of there as fast as they could. The girls were heavily into their card game. I said you’re free to go ... home! Enjoy!
They laughed and finally sprang up and waved … Bye Twad!
The faculty lunch was nice. The parent volunteer association put it on in the great room in the high school building. Nice white table cloths. Candles. Envelopes with money in them for every teacher and principal. A fire was roaring in the fireplace. The rice and gravy brought back childhood memories of school. We ate a lot of it.
I was sitting by a teacher, Prissy, from the middle school while I was slurping a big pile of it down. Prissy teaches fifth and sixth graders. She was working on a big pile of rice and gravy, too. She looked up at me and said, Doesn’t rice and gravy make you feel good?
Next Entry ... January 4: Goobernatorial Relations