Copyright © 1997, Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.
Mon, 12 May 1997
Something happened on campus last week that profoundly touched me. Despite the fact that I've been thinking about it on all my pre-dawn walks since, I am still after these many days at a loss for adequate words.
It was Wednesday. Class had just ended. I was awkardly lugging a heavy boxful of student journals across the street that runs through the campus hoping that my locked, outstreched arms wouldn't be pulled out of their sockets before I reached my office. As I struggled to step up on the curb on the other side of the street, I heard a hurried voice off to my left yell, "Hey, Dr. Schmier, wait up for a second. I've been looking for you. I've got something here I want you to have."
I stopped, leaning backward to counterbalance the weight of the box. I could feel my desparately grasping fingers weakening and slipping. I muttered to myself, "What a time to find me." The student, Rodney, who was in one of my classes last summer, lumbered up to me holding tightly to his backpack so it wouldn't fall off. Before I could say a word, in one smooth motion that would make a Nuriev jealous, he swung the backpack in front of him, unzipped a compartment, pulled out a small, crudely wrapped package, tucked it carefully into the pile of journals so it wouldn't fall off, and ran off saying only, "late for class. I'll stop by for a Tootsie Pop sometime." All I could offer was a surprised, gasping "thanks," aimed at his back.
I staggered up the steps to my office, plooped the box down on the floor with a crashing thud, picked up the package, grabed and unwrapped a Tootsie Pop, sat on the floor and looked at it. On the outside was one simple splotchy word that had bled into the ball of toilet paper wrapping--"thanks." As I peeled away the soft, crumpled sheets, I beheld a treasure appearing. I was not prepared for it. It was a statuette of me with comically but lovingly distorted features Rodney had carved in the same style as the statuettes he has fashioned for his sacavenger hunt exercise which were now part of my "toy" collection that is scattered all over my office.
I don't know how long I sat there motionless, staring at it through clouded eyes, slowly breathing, occasionally touching it. I remember that I slowly got up and placed it on the window sill behind my desk where it now holds a revered placed along side my other sacred objects of both students' learning and my teaching. I guess all I can say right now is that Rodney's loving efforts will be constant reminder to me our classes are portraits of ourselves. And, if we really want our classes, as well as ourselves, to be truly treasured, then we have be treasures.
Make it a good day. --Louis-- Louis Schmier (912-333-5947) firstname.lastname@example.org Department of History /~\ /\ /\ Valdosta State University /^\ / \ / /~ \ /~\__/\ Valdosta, Georgia 31698 / \__/ \/ / /\ /~ \ /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\ -_~ / "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\ _ _ / don't practice on mole hills" -\____
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