When I went into a high school as a teacher, many years had lapsed since I was a student in one. I had a great culture shock. Things were not as they used to be.
One thing that we didn't do (at least, I didn't see it) was to openly display affection in the hallways. I had two students who had discovered love, and they had no qualms about sharing it with the world. They would find each other between classes, and I'm surprised the paint didn't come off the walls from the heat. Other students would pass by and yell, "Get a room!" I had them for a one o'clock class, and both were frequently absent, having taken a longer-than-allowed lunch break.
Ah, young love. I think we have all been there, but some of us were able to contain ourselves in public. Some things are so special, they should not be shared with anyone, especially a bunch of strangers. I see it now in the mall, in restaurants, and in movie theaters. I wonder, are they trying to impress us? Do they think they are the first to discover physical attraction and want to show off? Peeps, please! There is nothing new under the sun.
Oh, and my young students so much in love....by the second semester, they hated each other fiercely and had to be seated on opposite sides of the classroom to keep the peace. Life goes on.
Here is the schedule for Relay for Life in Florence at the UNA practice field tomorrow night. This is such a fun and worthy event. Everyone should come and check it out if you haven't attended one before. I will be with the Austin/Barger SS class and my granddaughter, Amanda, will be with the St. Joseph School group.
I would be honored if you came by our booth and make a bid on one of the teddy bears I made for the silent auction! Here's a peek!
She is not known for being on time, and sometimes, Mrs. Clara huffs and puffs her way to a pew long after the service begins. She is not a Sunday School teacher. She does not sing in the choir. She is not called on to head committees or women's groups. One might think she doesn't have a ministry. One would be wrong.
Mrs. Clara is a hugger. She can spot those of us who are sad or just going through a hard day. She can see tears through perfect make-up or behind the giggles. She knows when we have need for affection, and draws us to her ample shoulders and pats our backs the way our mamas used to.
She doesn't hug everybody, and can cunningly discern those who are not interested. She knows, somehow. Sometimes, when one thinks they can't possibly make it another day, they can draw strength from Mrs. Clara and the world looks like a brand new place, a place where things are possible and there is promise. Her ministry is just as important as that of the pastor or choir director or Sunday school superintendent.
I've known some good huggers, but I think my Aunt Marie was one of the best ever. I won't ever be able to enjoy another hug for her, but Mrs. Clara is a wonderful substitute.
Hugs are free and require very little effort, but they can change a person's day. I wonder why we are so stingy with them?
I used to stand amazed and watch the redbirds fight. They would flash and flutter like scraps of burning rags through a sky unbelievable blue, swirling, soaring, plummeting. On the ground they were a blur of feathers, stabbing for each other's eyes. I have seen grown men stop what they were doing, stop pulling corn or lift their head out from under the hood of a broken-down car, to watch it. Once, when I was little, I watched one of the birds attack its own reflection in the side mirror of a truck. It hurled its body again and again against that unyielding image, until it pecked a crack in the glass, until the whole mirror was smeared with blood. It was as if the bird hated what it saw there, and discovered too late that all it was seeing was itself. I asked an old man who worked for my uncle Ed, a snuff-dipping man named Charlie Bivens, why he reckoned that bird did that. He told me it was just its nature. ~Rick Bragg, All Over but the Shoutin'.
Mr. Tom Hendrix is one of the treasures of this area of North Alabama. He has gathered stones and built a wall to honor the memory of his ancestors. Read the story here; it is much more informative than anything I can write.
Mr. Hendrix can be found working on the wall almost any day. He is always happy to stop and talk with visitors who come by to see what he has built. The visitors come, locals like me and his Indian ancestors from all over the country, to stand in this spiritual place and hear his stories.
The wall is immense, and I wonder if he could see it in his heart when he hauled in that first load of rocks that he had gathered. I asked him if the wall would ever be finished, and he just shook his head as if the ending was too difficult to think about.
The wall is located just off the Natchez Trace parkway and you will be welcome there if you want to see it for yourself.