It finally happened.
No, we didn’t have a volcano in Oklahoma. We seem to have nearly every other kind of natural disaster here, but not those; at least, not yet.
No, all the teachers haven’t walked out and demanded a living wage, the removal of the state dept. of Ed, and the elimination of state testing and special ed regs…but what if they did?
No, we didn’t have a flood in July nor frost in early September…although we tried really, really hard.
We saw a deer…in our yard! One morning, a doe (I think) went bounding into the woods at the border of the clearing behind our house. We’ve been waiting three years (since moving in) for such a sighting. Of course, now we hope for even more such sightings. We just enjoy watching animals in their natural habitat, especially in the peace of the early morning. The quiet and stillness are part of the joy.
Something else I never thought I’d see: we live-trapped my In-laws’ cat…I thought. I was going for a ‘coon that was sneaking into my In-laws’ garage to eat their cat’s food, but their cat got into my trap first. I guess I shouldn’t have baited it with cat food. Sheesh. So I let the cat out and rebaited it; we’ll see if the cat goes back. (snort) I imagine the ‘coons and opossums slapping their knees in the hollow of some tree as they laugh at the cat. I would be, if I were a fuzzy, cuddly woodland creature. And it turns out it wasn’t even my In-laws’ cat, just a look-alike from the neighborhood.
All those Disney films that show the beautiful heroine singing to these creatures, petting them, and then getting into trouble that the woodland creatures help her out of…They ought to make a cartoon about the beautiful milkmaid daughter of a woodsman who makes his living from the woods, and has to defend his helpless, stupid animals from the onslaught of clever, ferocious fuzzy woodland creatures. I would watch that; I would cheer for every pelt, too.
And I cut my hand on an egg.
Okay, it wasn’t cooked, and it wasn’t even the egg part, per se. It was part of an egg shell that was supposed to be crushed and left on the ground for our fowl to eat and strengthen their eggs, but somehow it got left on a log in the yard. And I saw it. And I was feeling swaggery…so I punched it, Bruce Lee style. It hurt, but I was gonna rub it off until I saw…OH NO! I’M BLEEDING! THE EGG VICIOUSLY ATTACKED ME! I bet none of you have an egg wound to brag about, do you? Didn’t think so. All part of being in the country and being man enough to face down…the remains of…a fragile, hollow…never mind.
And I went to a teachers’ conference, the Advanced Placement (class) Institute at Tulsa University…and I liked it! I laughed and had more fun than I’ve had at any teacher training, workshop, conference, or seminar ever. We didn’t learn ABOUT science; we DID science. I think it may have changed the way I see science teaching, and I’m glad. I wonder how I’ll get to use it…
…since I’m currently employed by TCC as an adjunct instructor in Algebra. I’m still in the running for several other adjunct positions in the area, and I hope at least one of them fits my other job schedules. For the first time in 14 years, I’m not coaching this fall, this winter, or this spring. Ha! I’m kind of enjoying it, too. I still rant when I watch professional sports, but not with stories about my current set of players. It’s a more relaxed rant…I think.
Our church, Tulsa Christian Fellowship, has a Parenting Class on Sunday afternoons, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to discuss parenting in a structured, focused way with other parents in various stages of their children’s growth. It’s nice to know you’re not alone and that there are effective ideas within your grasp. Shazam! God wants us to learn! We can learn! Yeah! Go learning! Let’s grow! One, two, threeeee…GROW! (massive cheering)
Okay, maybe I haven’t let go of coaching completely. Perhaps I should use my motivational talents on the raccoon who got himself into our deck trunk to eat the cat’s food right out of the bag. We heard thumping, and saw him run away once, but the next time, I looked in the trunk, and there was the ‘coon, looking all sheepish. I quickly sat on the lid, but in further discussions with my wife, we couldn’t figure out a way to dispatch the animal without destroying the trunk. We let him out and put a concrete block on top to discourage him. I hope he enjoyed the food; the cat doesn’t seem to.
So if you see a really fat, slow, satisfied raccoon crossing the road, you have my permission to shake your fist at him and harangue him relentlessly for his gross gluttony. Tell him he’s an embarrassment to the trunk designer…or possibly the homeowner. Tell him the next natural disaster will be exploding woodland creatures. Hey, it’s Oklahoma. It might happen.
If you enjoyed this excerpt from James Thorpe, feel free to check out his many terrific blog stories: A-Frame in a flood plain: Homesteading in Unusual Circumstances