Rising to a Smile: Ms. Nelson Part 2

I realize now that Ms. Nelson didn’t just love her students. It wasn’t simply her care and attention that made her memorable to us. She seemed to have an ability to challenge us that made us do things we didn’t know we could do. I loved every afternoon when she read to us. We were sweaty, mussy, distracted and tired after the mid day recess. She knew we wouldn’t respond to demands during that part of the day, she lead us to sit, to rest and to relax while she read “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends” to our eager ears. Continue reading

Making Lanterns

I stepped outside the church on a Monday afternoon after getting some papers signed for my kids to go to church camp. We were under the awning, waiting for the rain to let up so we could run to the car. A woman was standing there, she had attended a funeral in the building earlier in the day and was trying her best to hide the cigarette in her hand so my boys wouldn’t see her. Continue reading

You Can Start Over

I got the call as I was walking into the karate dojo for an early afternoon lesson with our youngest son. It was my middle son’s first grade school teacher. She wasn’t happy. I could hear the frustration in her tone and she made no attempt to hide it. It must be bad. She is the most patient and fun loving teacher, and she adores my son, for him to make her call me during the school day was a big deal. Continue reading

Dads with Dented Fenders

I was at Kroger getting gas when a silver mini-van pulled up at the pump next to me. Before I saw the driver, I saw the dent. It looked like it had been hit pretty good, and then, to save some money, had been banged out to a useable shape. It was probably like that for a while because rust had started to color the cracks and give it a crinkled look. Were it an old dresser, or an antique dining room buffet we would have called it “distressed” and made it a feature in our home. But when it’s a mini-van, we only wish we could trade it in, and try our best to be thankful that we have a reliable vehicle, no matter what it looks like. Continue reading