Thursday, August 3, 2017

Nickels, Pennies, Odds and Ends

I was just organizing our office--the place every bit of clutter, old floppy disk, and hippo pencil sharpener from when I was a child goes to die--in the hopes that I could clear just a wee bit of space to organize myself for the upcoming nightmare I've gotten myself in to.

"Do you want to teach drama?" they asked.

And I eagerly jumped because I love drama.

It's that love that has kept me taking one step at a time during these last few months as more and more and more and more commitment and responsibility have been revealed to me. Deep breaths. It'll all be okay.

I hope.

As I was going through boxes rarely opened, I discovered my old yearbook from the time I was teaching high school drama. I reread some of the hilarious things that my students wrote to me. Apparently, I was very concerned with them not getting tattoos as it would ruin their clean theatrical bodies. Or something. I have no idea really, but several of them promised me that they wouldn't get tattoos. Those students are all well into their adult years but I remember them as these eager theatre kids--just waiting to fly.

I miss them.

I found my faculty picture. I was 25. I look like a baby.

As I uncovered old Bible studies, notes from speaking sessions at conferences, and a coffee table book dedicated to the life and times of the sitcom FRIENDS, a loose square of paper fell out. I glanced at, remembering the desk top calendar I had as a very young teenager. It was full of little heartwarming stories or funny jokes.

Two Nickels and Five Pennies

       In the days when an ice cream sundae cost must less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?"
        "Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
        The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired.
         Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely.
         The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
         The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table, and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies--her tip.

I have held on to this scrap of paper for--I don't know--close to 23 years. I cannot read it without getting choked up. Every. Single. Time. I don't know why. I'm not usually sappy or overly emotional. I don't even know if it's a true story. But I want to be like that little boy. I wants to raise boys like that little boy. Maybe that's why it grabs hold of me the way it does.

The moral of the story: Teach your children to be kind and also, if they want to go into the theatre, apparently, teach them not to get tattoos. 

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