Not so, I denied.
“Yes, you are,” he reasoned. “You attracted Dad and you made us.”
I am not the most important person in our family. I am not the most important person in Roy, in UT, in the USA, or in the world. I am, however, the most prominent person in this particular epistle. Stories are bouncing in my mind like kernels in a popcorn popper. It is time for them to escape and this writing is the bowl that will catch them. I am the common thread that unites the popcorn into a string of stories. May you find the story-string light and delicious and devoid of old maids!
Old……….This may be a common theme in several stories.
Antonio told me he remembers how sedimentary rocks form by relating each step to life stages in humans. “And cementation, which is the last stage,” he explained, “is when people get old, like 40, and quit doing anything.”
Quit doing anything? ANYTHING?!!?!?!
In answer to a student’s question about my age, I told the class I am 72.
“79?” said a student who was smart enough to look puzzled even if she was not smart enough to square seven.
I am not 79.
I felt 79 this weekend. Marjorie—my darling sister who loves me absolutely unconditionally, who never judges me, who proactively searches for ways to make me happy—invited me to work out with her. In the gym Thursday she laid on a bench and she handily lifted a bar adorned with multiple, doughnut shaped weights TEN times. I laid down, under the same bar, and struggled to lift it off the rack ONCE. Then she went to a machine where she sat on a bench, opened her arms like extended butterfly wings, hooked her wings around weighted cushions and easily used her arms to bring the cushions towards her body’s core where they met in front of her chest. I sat on the same bench, hooked my wings in the same manner and……nothing. I could not budge the cushions. I felt old.
Friday, having lifted a miserably modest amount of weights the day before (and having played our annual Thanksgiving soccer game) I felt a little sore so we decided to do “a relaxing jog, about 3 miles”. We ran 5.17 miles at a pace that might have been relaxing for her but was race pace for me. I felt older.
Saturday she did an interval workout. During the warm-up jog, my legs felt like rebar; every step jarred my entire body. We did five 400m intervals, 80 second pace, 400m slow jog between. I did NOT keep up. I am old.
“What was your height when you were in high school?” the woman doing my bone density test asked. When I told her I was 5’8” in high school she told me that I am just under 5’6” now. Cementation?
On our field trip to the University of Utah nuclear reactor my students learned that researchers there are developing a type of cement will not absorb radiation. I learned that I should take my first aid kit on ALL my field trips, not just those that involve outdoor adventures.
Our plan was to walk to Ogden’s Union Station, board the FrontRunner (train), ride to SLC, transfer to a bus that would take us to campus, tour the nuclear reactor, and then reverse the process to go home. About a half mile into our walk, two students pulled me aside to tell me that one of them needed feminine products. I have those in my first aid kit (tampons are great for nose bleeds) but not in my coat pocket. Union Station does not have coin operated sanitary napkin dispensers nor are there any convenience stores in the area. We finally found a solution to the dilemma in the purse of a merciful hair stylist.
The train ride was uneventful but the bus ride provided another adventure. Fascinated by the lack of a seat belt requirement, most of my students chose to stand in the aisle. Soon boarding riders forced them to the back where they stood, happily enjoying their adventure. I sat in the front, enjoying the white noise, until a message percolated forward through the pressed masses. “James has a huge bloody nose. He is bleeding out!” Again, my first aid kit would have been handy.
Later, in the reactor, Amanda came running toward me yelling. I was initially annoyed as I had strictly instructed the students not to yell or run but her message changed my attitude. “Mary Kate just fainted.” My first aid kit would not have been very useful in that situation but it makes a dramatic end to the story.
Dramatic ends…. Monday night brought an end to Tanah’s participation in Roy High’s dramatic production The Slipper and the Rose but it did not bring an end to Tanah’s drama (which will probably never end). We did enjoy her staged drama during the run of the show. We also laughed a little at Chick.
Sitting in the audience, waiting for the play to start, Chick asked Sandy and Bill for their ticket stubs, explaining that he would receive extra credit in his theater arts class for each ticket stub he turned in. With a twinkle in her eye and her chin pointed toward a couple cute girls sitting on the east side of Bill, Sandy said, “I will give you my stub if you will ask those two girls for theirs.”
“What?” asked Chick, totally baffled.
“Ask those two girls for their stubs and I will give you mine,” Sandy reiterated.
Completely flummoxed, Chick could not understand why Sandy would want him to speak to those two (cute) girls. “I don’t get it,” he said. He was right. He really did not get it….nor will he unless things change.
And some things really need to change (though not necessarily Chick’s flirting habits; they are fine for the moment). I came home last Saturday to find the house empty and the front door wide open. Tanah had left several hours earlier and had left a trail of chaos in her wake….milk and cheese open on the counter, straightening iron and make up on the bathroom sink, pajamas on the heater vent, lights on in her bedroom, books strewn across the office, shoes and socks in the hallway. I’d had several hours to cool my hot head and heat my cold house by the time she got home so, much more gently that she probably deserved, I explained to her the problems associated with leaving the door open when the outside temperature hovers just above freezing. “But what about global warming?” she defended herself, “We must do our part to contribute!” [Hold me back!]
There was absolutely no holding Chick back from seeing the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Who. He and his Uncle Kurt joined hundreds of other Dr. Who aficionados at the theater premiere showing. He came home electrified. “I loved it with the passion of a thousand blazing suns!” he proclaimed.
Lance also had a dramatic moment. He performed in the school “Absolutely NO Talent Show” as a……teacher. That is funny.
Feeding and watering 20 chickens that are not laying eggs is not funny. Getting $5/hen for them at the auction may not be funny but it was certainly fun.
Certain fun is what we are anticipating when we go on vacation with Grandparents Hislop but we are certainly having a difficult time deciding where to go; overseas is too expensive and cruises are too common. Our budget is $10,000 for six people and the adventure, whatever it is, must be wheel chair accessible. Any suggestions? (PLEASE!!!)
In this season of THANKS (last week) and GIVING (in three weeks), we are GIVING THANKS for you. We may say THANKS to you for GIVING too, if and when the occasion arrives. (This is NOT a hint, just an attempt to play with words.)