Daisy

I am a horse person. I can remember the very day and event that is forever etched in time as the moment I became a crazy horse person. A neighborhood picnic at which pony rides were given in exchange for a purchased ticket. It wasn’t a pony ride. My parents never purchased a ticket to exchange for a ride. It happened afterwards.

My father was in charge of the ticket sales for the pony rides and a couple of other attractions.  I stood watching the ponies being loaded onto the trailer as my dad talked to the owner. “Would you like to pet the pony?” the man asked me. I had longed to ride a pony all day and now I had the chance to touch one. I shyly nodded my head. He walked in my direction leading a dark brown pony. “This is Daisy, ”

Daisy. My heart raced  between being excited and being scared. I had never been near a pony before, but I thought she was beautiful. He explained where I could pet her so t hat she wouldn’t feel scared. As I ran my hand over her long neck, I was surprised to feel her warmth and the smoothness of her hair. “Would you like to sit on her?” I peered into his face in disbelief. Again I nodded. My father lifted me onto her warm back. He instructed me to hold onto her mane and then slowly led Daisy around the parking lot. I looked at my dad with a smile that I’m sure was reflected back to me in his.

As we made our way back to my dad waiting at the trailer, I felt something I wouldn’t know until later was the beginning of a love affair that would last the rest of my life. “Thank the man,” Dad instructed.

“Thank you,” I said. He ruffled my hair.

Later, as I sat in the back seat of the old Fairlane 500 heading home, I noticed the sweet horse smell. A combination of sweat, hay,  and manure. A smell that I loved. I was that person. A crazy horse person.

 

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Our first blessing – Everett

In the last two and a half years, my husband and I have been blessed with three tiny people entering our lives. The first of these blessings is Everett. Last night we traveled a short half an  hour’s drive to our daughter’s to visit Everett and his tiny newborn sister, Cora.

Anyone who  has had their own children or grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or any other exposure to little ones, knows how quickly they can change from day to day, week to week. So it is always  amazing to see the transformation that seems to have occurred from one visit to the next.

As we settled in to our first evening alone with these two bundles of warmth and love, we were to witness the change in our little grandson. Not long ago, he was the babe swaddled in a receiving blanket, helpless and dependent on his caregivers for every need. Now it is his little sister. Since his birth and the arrival of Cora,  Everett is now truly the “Big Brother” that was announced to the world a year ago via the t-shirt he wore to surprise us.

Watching him gently pat Cora’s head to soothe her when she cried or angelically leaning towards her to place a kiss on her cheek made me suddenly realize how much he has grown emotionally and transformed into a caring little boy. As I watched him move between pushing his dump truck across the carpet and pushing the buttons on the baby bouncer, I felt a surge of love and  pride in this little boy that was not long ago a babe himself.

Our first and continued blessing – EVERETT.

 

It Matters

Yesterday, as I entered my information on the SOLC page, I was reticent about doing so. The biggest question in my mind and the one that I have kept coming back to until I committed is, “Will I be able to write everyday?”

This morning, as I opened my email, I was  excited to see that I had three replies! As I read each one, I realized that someone had read my blog and had actually made a connection to what I had shared.

Such a tremendous level of satisfaction came over me, I was giddy with excitement. Although I could not, at that moment, sit down and write about my feelings, I could not wait to share them later.

So, here I am, sharing. Letting each of you out there,  participating in this challenge, know that I appreciate what you are doing. Every word. Every emotion. Every story. It means something to someone else. Maybe just one person. Maybe no one but you at that moment.

But it matters. Our writing matters!

 

Spic and Span

Yesterday was a much welcomed snow day  here in Michigan. This is only our third snow day this winter which is quite unusual. As a teacher, I savor these days to catch up on things at home. Things that take a back seat to school work. Like cleaning.

I decided to tackle our laundry room, a place that has given me considerable angst since we moved into this house seventeen years ago. And yes, it has taken me seventeen years to build up enough annoyance to finally do something about it!

After putting together a shelving unit we recently purchased to organize my husband’s racquetball gear, I then began the process of cleaning and organizing the cabinets. Old cleaning supplies, batteries of questionable use, odds and ends of things that probably once had a purpose but have since lost their identity were all disposed of. With shelves wiped down, the floor swept and mopped and everything in its place, I took some quick pictures to send in a message to my husband. A kind of, “Look at what I accomplished today!” message.

“I hope you like and will use the shelves for your bags,” my text said. His reply?

“How will I know where anything is if it’s organized?”

No comment.

 

 

RIP Cursive Writing

Bright and early every morning, my sixth grade students write in a journal and share an idea. With any luck, they find something that gets that pencil flying, keeps their interest for ten minutes and maybe takes them into writing the next day. To help them along the way, they view a slide from Corbett Harrison of Writing Fix that includes my favorite part of the slides; the vocabulary word of the day. Today’s word: anachronistic. Definition: to be regarded as out of date.

Which brings me to cursive writing. An anachronism in today’s world of technology and bad form.  I have had a long love affair with cursive writing. I view it as an art form. I love the precise way the letters are formed and interconnect, yet allow one to interpret each letter in a way that becomes part of one’s personality. It may be filled with curlicues, or it may be succinct. It may be flowery, or it may be rigid. And that, my friends, is the art.

I find it interesting to see how a person’s writing changes over the years as it becomes more refined with continued practice, thus becoming a mirror into one’s age, personality and even health. Handwriting becomes easier for most people over time, flowing from the pen or pencil, gliding over the paper with the smooth stroke of youth. It also shows no mercy. It may quiver with age or ill health.

My first exposure to cursive writing was watching my mother write shopping lists and letters, recipes and checks. Her handwriting had curlicues and flair, yet to those that had to read it, perfect readability. When I was learning to write individual letters in cursive and missed several days of school, my mother taught me to write my cursive E. I was so proud to go back to school with my fancy E! To this day, it has an extra loop at the top and bottom and in the middle.

Not all people have met the learning of cursive with the same fervor. For some, from the earliest days, cursive writing was a chore. And like many chores, it was met with disdain as something that had to be learned, practiced, and tolerated.

As you might imagine, I love using cursive and have been told I have beautiful handwriting, something in which I have always felt pride.

So I have met the demise of cursive writing in our school district with sadness. It started with the reduction of writing practice at the lower levels as the curriculum became more packed and then with the idea that it is no longer relevant. Why do students need to learn cursive when most of what they will be doing is done on a keyboard?

As this thinking has permeated throughout the grade levels, so has the number of students who have never learned to write in cursive or whose writing instruction has been the equivalent of a new driver being shown how to start the car, but not how to back up or turn around.

They say there are five steps in the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I have felt all of those at various points, as  cursive writing has slowly died. Goodbye my dear friend, cursive writing. RIP.