So regardless of whether the wider culture calls for acrobats to garb themselves in formal dress or for performers to break-dance to hip-hop beats, people will still come to see risible clowns, incredible animals, and daring performers because the circus remains the only place in Georgia, and the world, where all of these things come together with such thrilling and happy results.
—The Big Tent: The Traveling Circus in Georgia, by Gregory J. Renoff
The last Friday of the year means it’s Beach Day so Lurlene lets everybody come to school in beach shirts and you get to bring whatever it is you want Billy to grill you for lunch and this also means we start the day by having to endure Herman and Winx wearing grass skirts and coconut bras.
As for me, I brought The Shirt of Happiness back out. The moment I walked into the great room to say hello to the kids before the day began it was Sheldon who remembered its awesome power over evil. Sheldon screamed, The Shirt of Happiness! So much for my theory that some of the kids don’t have good memories. Of course, after that, everybody wanted to know what the colorful shirt was all about and Sheldon and I had to recount the moment back on our week-long January field trip to Savannah and south Georgia when I had to change into my black t-shirt. It’s funny to see the look of horror on children’s faces on a bright and happy last Friday of the school year while you enjoy a steaming and delicious cup of espresso roast.
When the honors class finished everything up I asked them to either tell me if they were going to continue studying Georgia History on their own or to give me a war face. No one wanted to give me a war face. I figured if I got one war face it would be Fatima’s but I honestly think she was too exhausted. She didn’t even visit The Globe of Happiness, of which she still has unlimited access until around noon next Wednesday. I’m wondering if there are any rewards in there anyway after watching Spike raid it every day. Helena and Gary have been hard at it, too. If Spike gains twenty pounds then he’ll weigh sixty pounds.
Dexter was serious when he said he’s going to continue to study Georgia History on his own because he wants to become an archeologist.
Elmo was not serious when he affected the face of a clown and said because he likes to compare then and now!
Claude was cordial. I liked what Claude said. He said he’ll continue on because there are some things he’s forgot that he wants to look up again.
As they left the room after the exam was over I stood by the door with the wiggly plucked chicken in my left hand and The Teaching Stick in my right hand. I was kicking my knees up while I sang God Bless America and raising the chicken up and then The Teaching Stick and so on and so forth. I think teachers should be memorable. I have come to believe my students are trying to forget some of this on purpose.
So it’s our last Friday and it’s Beach Day. But it rains at the beach and it rained off and on today so Lurlene kept us close to the building instead of way down on the soppy soccer field where we were going to contest team games, much like the clans of the Scottish, where many ankles would have been twisted and bouts of bickering would have been wearily endured and many skulls would have probably been cracked. I know there was one game where the precious children would have stuck their foreheads on the end of a plastic baseball bat and spun around … and around … and tried to run to a far-away finish line but would have puked their guts out instead.
Instead, back near the school house, I had four-square watch-dog duty with Old Burrell and next to Old Burrell was the seventh grader, Honoria. Out of nowhere, she started to explain to me and Old Burrell that … sure … she may be perfect at school but she’s a terror at home. Neither one of us wanted to explore that one further. Remember, we’re supposed to be weary. Actually, today, I think I’m getting my one hundred and seventy-fifth day of school second wind. So then Honoria starts talking about singing and did either one of us know how to sing?
As I got into the third verse of the Star Spangled Banner, Lurlene opened up her window and asked … ordered … me to stop singing so loudly and obnoxiously.
I told Lurlene that stopping this song, once it got started, even though I was singing it in such a lusty manner, was sacrilegious. Hell, the woman’s got a Pledge of Allegiance banner hanging in the main hallway.
Lurlene said she was trying to get some work done if you don’t mind. Then she snapped her window back.
I quit singing and asked Old Burrell what the woman would be doing late on a Beach Day Friday afternoon. She should be out here mixing it up with us teacher types and the graduating ragamuffins.
God knows, Old Burrell moaned. But she’s cooking collards with bacon for me this weekend, he said, so don’t get her all worked up.
Next Entry ... May 24: Beau Regarding Tradition