makes me miss Savannah...



we had our first football game on friday night.  it was awesome.  our team is hoping to have an exciting season.
we won, and it was amazing.

when i went to the game that night, i didn't know i would yell at a little kid or end up directing traffic.  here's what happened...

i had to "keep the gate" that night.  all the teachers take turns selling tickets at games so that we can keep all the proceeds.  i was sitting at a table near an open space where smaller kids often congregate and play during football games.  the kids are mostly upper elementary grades.  at least, that's my guess.  well, the boys were all playing together.  i had been pretty distracted w/ selling tickets, but most people had arrived, so i was just watching the kids for entertainment.  we can't see the game from where we are, so there's really not much else to do.  well, i suddenly put together that one boy, wearing a football jersey w/ the #20 on it, was screaming at another child.  i listened closely, and i couldn't believe it.

#20 was white, stocky, and about 9 years old.  he had a small, plastic megaphone in his hand that he was using to magnify his screams.  the second child was hispanic, had a friend on either side, and was doing his best to walk away as #20 screamed, "YOU MEXICAN RETARD!! GO AWAY, MEXICAN RETARD!!!"

i gasped and then acted. i yelled at him, calling him by number.  "hey!  #20!! COME HERE."

one could tell immediately by his expression and body language that he knew better.  he sheepishly walked over to my table.  at this point, i was fuming.  i honestly don't remember exactly what i said to him.  i just know i gave him the most horrible "dale" look i could summon.  i wanted him to remember this moment for years, if not the rest of his life.  i did't care that i didn't know this kid.  if his parents were actually teaching him to hate others, i honestly feel it's my right to point out that they're wrong and that, contrary to what he believes, he does not have the right to yell anything like that at another human being.  i really don't care what the constitution says about free speech.  no human being should have the right to yell such awful things at another human being.  anyhow, i didn't repeat what he said, but made him admit what he said and repeat it himself.  then i asked him if he thought it was okay to say things like that, and he said no.  part of me wanted to find his parents and tell them what he did, but chances are, where i live, that if a little kid was talking like that, he probably learned it from his parents.

you know how 15 minutes after the opportunity, you think of what you would have liked to have said?  the only think i regret is not making him apologize... the other kid was long gone though, so i don't know how i could have done that anyhow...

as if this wasn't exciting enough for one night, 3 minutes before the end of the game there was a lightening delay.  the weather turned quickly, and people basically lost their minds.  running everywhere.  we got to our car only to sit in traffic for a solid 5 or 6 minutes and watch no one go anywhere.  adam asked me what i wanted to do.  i told him i either wanted to punch someone in the face or direct traffic.  he parked the car, and we ran up to the front of the traffic line and started telling everyone where to go.

i felt much better.

our children will probably learn at an early age to fear their mother.


stone mountain on a rainy day...

we went to stone mountain this past saturday.  it was awesome.  we ate a yummy lunch and hiked a nature trail.  it was very simple, but perfect.

ls: you look pensive.
a: damn. i was going for thoughtful.

watch out for the tiger

we each made a yawp in the woods.  if you're not a walt whitman or dead poets fan, don't worry about it. (apparently i can't flip videos on my computer like i can pics, so sideways video will have to do.)


Cali Swag District - Teach Me How To Dougie (Official Video)

I can't lie. I love this song. And in my humble opinion, this song and video is way better in its original form. I'd be friends w/ all the people in this video. jermaine dupri is okay and all, but I think he got it wrong w/ his remix....


grieving. still.

Some of you remember me talking about Trey a few years ago.  Trey was a student of mine in Savannah.  In the summer of 2006, he went to the beach with a group of friends.  Sadly, Trey drowned.  I couldn't go to the funeral because I was teaching summer school.  I went to the visitation.  It's very unnatural to see the lifeless body of a teenager.
I had just run into him a couple of weeks before...he wanted to be someone...

(L to R) Penn and Chelsea

A couple of days after my birthday this past March, news came of Penn's death.  Penn had cancer.  He was one of my Young Life kids from Savannah.  Penn knew his Maker.  That doesn't make his death any easier to deal with, but there's a lot more comfort.  As you can tell from the picture, he was the goofy type.  The very first night I met Penn he had me laughing.


A few weeks later there was a terrible car accident.  It claimed the life of Omar.  He was just 16.  I had taught him the year before as a 9th grader.  His smile says it all.  Gosh, I loved that smile!  We would go back and forth making fun of each other's mom, having, of course, never had met each other's mother.  It was around Easter. We all wore pink to the funeral because it was his favorite color (he was a cholo, so he was allowed to pick pink as his favorite color...)
I'll never forget his abuela at the funeral.  I've never heard a grownup cry like that....

(L to R) Zach and Zychias

This summer we've been all over the place.  A few weeks ago we were in Savannah.  I was watching the news with my mom and saw  a news report about a young man being shot and killed near the school where I used to teach.  The next day I found out that it was Zychias.  I taught Zychias and his brother, Zach, my very first year of teaching.  They were my first set of twins.  It was very clear to me from the start that Zychias was not on the right path in life.  Nevertheless, we'd talk and talk about music.
His body was found around 10 pm.  It had been dropped on the street for someone - anyone - to find.  Police think it was drug related.  The reporter from the newspaper put his name down as "Zachias."  When I contacted the reporter and asked him to fix the error, he said something about getting his info from the police....code for, "I don't really give a damn, and this is what the police gave me..."
It's now weeks later.  No one has been arrested.  And the newspaper continues to call him "Zachias"...

I've cried a lot today.  Mostly for Zychias.  Did he die instantly, or slowly?  Was he already dead when his body was dumped, or did he die there, alone?  How could someone so smart and FULL of potential end up like this??  I confess that I wasn't shocked at all that this is where his life ended.  That doesn't make it easier though.  This has been harder than the others.  I feel like there was no way to know that Trey, Penn, and Omar were going to die this way.  But Zychias... there are SO many what ifs.....

I love all teenagers on sight.  I love hard.  I doubt that Zychias, Omar, Penn, or Trey knew just how much they were loved.  Teaching English has always been secondary for me.  I just want my kids to feel loved.  Tomorrow begins my 8th school year.  No matter how it goes, I just want to love on kids.  I want kids to feel God's love through me.


this is for every teacher who has ever been asked...

Did I Miss Anything?
Tom Wayman
Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

     Everything. I gave an exam worth
     40 percent of the grade for this term
     and assigned some reading due today
     on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
     worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

     Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
     a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
     or other heavenly being appeared
     and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
     to attain divine wisdom in this life and
     the hereafter
     This is the last time the class will meet
     before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
          on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?
     Everything. Contained in this classroom
     is a microcosm of human experience
     assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
     This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

     but it was one place

     And you weren’t here


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