John’s Jots – New Beginnings

Long ago before handheld calculators, I was a six year old boy looking with considerable dread and little anticipation toward the first day of first grade.  My parents lived with me back then.  We lived together in a white frame house on my Dad’s farm outside Bishop, Texas where I would be going to school.  Our house was set back from the road on a long caliche drive.  Tufts of milkweed just tall enough to hide a small coiled rattlesnake grew intermittedly in spots missed by backing car tires.  In my mind, caliche stretched for miles from our front door.

The big day arrived.  Mother kissed me goodbye at the door.  I began walking down the drive to wait for the school bus.  It was a long walk.  I didn’t want to go.  I guess the idea of starting something new just didn’t appeal to me.  But, I couldn’t turn around and walk back to the house.  I knew Mother would shoo me away back down the long drive past the hidden rattlesnakes to stand under the old hackberry tree until the bus arrived.  So, I didn’t move; I waited for the bus.

The bus arrived.  I stumbled up its tall steps designed for the big kids in Junior High.  An old man peered down at me from the driver’s seat.  He said, “I’m Mr. Ward.  I drive this bus.  We sit three-to-a-seat on my bus.  Go sit down, be quiet and don’t move.”  I did, I was, and I didn’t.

Other than having avoided driveway rattlesnakes, nothing about this day was going good.

Eventually, Mr. Ward’s yellow rolling jail arrived at Eastside Elementary School.  My fellow scholars and I were met by our teacher – a buxom woman resembling a smiling, bespeckled puffer pigeon in sensible shoes.  She turned out to be nice.  She gave me my own desk with my very own bottle of first grade paste.  Wow!  Just about the time I had everything arranged, it was time for recess.  Every kid I knew was there.  We went back to class, but pretty soon we walked single file to eat lunch in the cafetorium.  My “First School Lunch” report card was all A’s, mainly because I ate my vegetables and didn’t start a fight.  After lunch we worked on the alphabet.  I learned to read “cat” and “dog”.   And then it was time to get back on the bus, sit three-to-a seat, be quiet, be still, and go home.  School was good.  Mr. Ward even smiled.

This Wednesday is our first rehearsal of the new choir year.  I am looking forward to it with considerable anticipation and no dread at all.  Like the first day of first grade, we’ll learn unanticipated new things; we’ll see friends; we’ll find out what the coming year will bring; we’ll have fun.  Don’t miss it.  Let’s have 100% Bass II attendance for first rehearsal and for the retreat. We can do it!

Have you asked someone to join choir?  See you in church on Sunday.  JRB

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