Monday, January 7, 2013

Mail Pouch or Kentucky Twist?

A little while ago I had occasion to call at a local funeral home.  Now the proprietors are neighbors, friends, people I have known since they were children, yet a visit to their establishment is almost always connected with a loss of a friend or acquaintance.  In this instance, the decedent was an acquaintance of many years and a man for whom I had great respect.

For eight years he had been a member of the school board, and thus in a manner of speaking, my employer.  Later, his daughter was a teacher on my staff.  It was for her primarily that I made the call, for Don was no longer with us.  I'm sure it didn't matter to him one way or the other.

Following a wait in line for over an hour, I was privileged to visit with Don's family members for a few moments.  Then I went into a parlor where many people were gathered.  Here it was that a young man of, say forty-something, approached me.

" Mr. L!  Hi, do you remember me?"  (Always the first question the guys ask thirty years after our last encounter.)

"Of course," I said.  "How are you, Justin?"  (This part was easy, since I had just visited with his sister a few minutes earlier.  She had pointed him out across the room.)

"Remember how you tried to get me to give up chaw?" Justin asked.

"I'll never forget it," I replied.  Justin was a student in my school for six years, kindergarten through grade five.  The chewing tobacco issue came up in his second grade year.  It never went away.  "Hope you've dropped that foolishness."

"Nah.  Still chew."  Said, apparently with a great deal of pride, as though his standing there before me in apparent good health somehow proved he was right.  And coincidentally, that I was wrong.

"Sorry to hear it.  But it is good to see you again."  We chatted a few minutes about his doings, and I headed home.

Quite possibly a  lot of our efforts, well-intentioned as they may be, go for naught.

10 comments:

Shelly said...

The seed is still there in him that you planted. Let's hope that it take root and bear fruit quickly.

Jim said...

The very thought of someone I knew in a relationship such as teacher-student so many years ago being delighted to see me and hoping I remembered them appeals to me deeply.

I made an elderly woman cry several years ago when I approached her and asked if she remembered me from the third grade. I hadn't even been in her classroom, was just one of the many she yelled at to stop running in the hall, yet she was clearly moved to be remembered.

Jackie said...

Shelly is correct. You did plant the seed and with a little more time it may just take root and blossom.

I always loved my teachers and remember them all. I am almost positive that those that are still alive, especially from my year in the 7th grade remember me. We were awful!

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Take care!

Vee said...

I can't imagine a child that young with such a habit.

Living in a small town affords the privilege of occasionally seeing a former student and of keeping up with old friends. It's always hard to lose someone who has been a friend for many years. So sorry!

Grace said...

chewing tobacco in 2nd grade? Seriously?...Whoa...

Secondary Roads said...

So the message was supposed to be that you were wrong? I don't think so!

Lin said...

Aw, he knows better--why else would he remember that about you?

vanilla said...

Shelly, yes, hope springs eternal.

Jim, in all honesty, it is gratifying to be remembered by a former student who cares enough to make a contact.

Jackie, I'm sure you weren't really "awful," though come to think of it I had som "challenging" seventh grade classes!

Vee, one of the advantages of small town living, for sure.

Grace, serious as death. Unfortunately.

Chuck, well, it might have been.

Lin, he has to know better. His mother is an oncology nurse who runs a treatment center.

Sharkbytes said...

Well, despite the number of people who have died of smoking (as a parallel example) a smoker will always point to someone like George Burns and say it won't kill them. (But chewing is icky too)

vanilla said...

Shark, and it is true that a given bad habit won't kill everyone; but everyone will die anyway.