It’s come to this, bundled up in gray sweats, lots of layers, Phish on repeat, and a struggle to keep my eyes open. The day of service has passed on I feel like I’ve been going all day, running, driving, trying new foods, putting laundry away, and whatever else got done. The clock says that it is only seven, but I feel like I could sleep right now. Why not, I napped through the first half of the Sixers’ game this afternoon. Sometimes workdays are easier than holidays. For now, I’m chilling, Roggae keeping me awake until I’m absolutely out.

Remember when age was supposed to be full of wisdom. The idea that life experiences help people make wise decisions has been accepted throughout history. Tonight another old and supposedly wise person started shooting rockets into the sky. He was avenging the death of his boy at the hands of another country. The trigger happy leader will cost many people their lives, just the same as the equally egotistical leader who started the mess by ordering the initial hit. Anymore wars are eternal pissing contests that never end. When will people learn that ego exposes their worst? I’m guessing never.

colorful clown toy

There were a few minutes left in the longest school day of the year. My students were deep into a battle of kickball when the emergency lights around the gym started blinking. The calm and panic-inducing voice commanding everyone to leave the building. We went out into the blinding sun and winter’s wind. Luckily, the sun was winning and it wasn’t too cold. The students walked to the safe zone and we waited to hear what could have caused the unexpected building evacuation. Fortunately, nothing was too wrong. A bag of microwavable popcorn burned. The smoke ended the day.

It was like I had never been in a classroom before. They looked at me like I was some kind of freak speaking a language they had never heard. In less than two weeks, either I had forgotten how to teach or they had no clue what I had taught them over the last four months. This was no dream. This was first period after the holiday recess. I scrambled for the right things to say recognizing that time has a way of bringing things back. Somewhere in a story about my high school teacher, they came back to life.

This morning was a perfect wake up. Nobody else was out of bed and it was perfectly quiet. After gusting winds over the last two days, there was barely a breeze and the ocean looked to be perfectly still. Gradually, the sounds of life began, first as a simple conversation with my wife, then with the pounding rubber of joggers out for a run and the whir of bike tires as Schwinn’s sped by. Before long a surveyor’s measuring tape was plotting a lot for new construction. The day had started. The quiet was gone. So it is with people.

My wife is the best. She puts up with the up and down moodiness that I can spread around in ways that can be most difficult. She has a way of keeping us three boys in check so that the house can stay far away from the frat atmosphere we would allow it to devolve into. My wife is an equal in every way which props me up when I need and knocks me down when I need that as well. I can’t imagine being without her because life is never as good as it is when we are together.

I don’t know what is the most important lesson a coach can share, but I know Coach Farrior said something that inspired me off the basketball court. I wrote an essay in his History class. I have no idea what it was about, but he took me aside and talked up my writing. I may or may not be any good at getting my thoughts on this electronic paper, but I know that the encouragement Coach Farrior gave me helped inspire me to write more at a time where I could have just as easily not written. Thanks, Coach Farrior.

There was a moment in fifth grade when I thought I had done the scariest thing ever. I rode the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens. I spent a summer working the ride in green suspenders. We rode every morning. After awhile the thrill waned a bit. Then a few years ago my wife and I took BG in and found that the thrill had come back…for the roller coaster…the thrill has never left for my wife. Hopefully, we all feel about “The Monster” as Vincent Price did when he asked me, “May a ride again?” Of course…

Mr. Ellis, I was in seventh or eighth grade when you called me to your office. I was scared, but knew what was coming. I skipped lunch detention thinking basketball would keep me out of trouble. You made sure I understood that being an athlete came with a responsibility to set a good example. Sometimes I did, sometimes not, but I always heard your voice telling me to do better. I hope my students get that lesson from me. And to think it happened because you taught me instead of just putting me in after school detention.  

Thank you, sir.