Ironically the one student at School in a Soybean Field who caused me, the teacher, the most grief during our year-long contest with each other had the same name as I. I was determined that he would be a student well-behaved, reliable and co-operative. He was determinedly dead-set against my ambition in that regard.
David was obstreperous in class, loud and obnoxious. He sometimes hurt people. David's widowed mother was at the end of her very frayed rope, and hanging on by a hang-nail. Which is to say, she was no help to me in my efforts to reform the rascal, and much as I wanted it to be otherwise, I was of little assistance to her in improving the socialization skills of her get.
Please don't conclude that I hated the child. I truly hoped to civilize him, and I worked assiduously to that end for a long, long, nay, seemingly interminable nine months. It was a challenge.
Excuse me while I take a breath.
My attitude toward him was no worse than that of his other teachers, the principal, and his classmates. But it wasn't any better, either. I even toyed with the idea of changing my name from David to Leroy, or Liam, or Huckleberry. I left the school district at the end of the year and moved to a completely different region of the state. I had heard nothing of David from that day...
Fast forward thirty-four years. I had purchased a car from a dealership in a town a mere sixteen miles from School in a Soybean Field. The car had a couple of issues, and I returned to the site of purchase to ask for assistance. The dealer called his service manager in and introduced us. Sure, he said, bring her into Bay Three. Which I did. The service manager set a mechanic to work on the vehicle, then said to me, "Do you recognize me?' I replied truthfully, "I didn't recognize you by sight, but I remember your name. You were a sixth grade student at Soybean Field over thirty years ago."
Long conversation, reminiscing about "the day." I asked and he filled me in on his own journey through life's mazes. Then he said, "Do you remember David?" "Seriously, how could I ever forget? What ever happened to David?" Turtle-like, I pulled my head down on my shoulders to protect myself from the terrible account I was about to hear.
"Well," Keith said, "you won't believe this, but David got saved while he was in high school. He went to college and seminary. He is pastor of a church in Virginia. He is married and has two daughters. One of them teaches sixth grade, and the other one is a senior at Virginia Tech."
Floored? Well, I should say. But I shouldn't have been, for the grace of God is unlimited, and His works are beyond the ken of men.