Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Oh my gosh, I'm home! Muggy, rainy, beloved, home. Actually it isn't bad here. We had the windows and balcony doors open all night in the bedroom and no air conditioner on. It's a lovely 68 degrees out and I had to drink my first cup of my prime addiction outside. The frogs are still going off after the storm last night. It's the end of July already. Even the Katydids are wearing out. What's up with the frogs trying to carry on like that? You would think they were involved in some kind of midlife crisis for amphibians. I wonder what a trophy toad looks like. Lumps and bumps in all the right places?

I have to make myself get busy sometimes, otherwise I'll just stare out over the gorge and be happy. That's wrong, isn't it? I should be worrying about something or repenting for some nefarious deed that I only thought about doing.

This summer, in spite of the high gas prices (which are actually stupidly low to any world traveler),  I have burned a fair amount of fossil fuel visiting family, friends, and the like, and I'm not done yet. I have a couple of visitations yet to perform and a college or two to tour for my eldest who graduates in 10 months. Dang!

The money I put away for college has followed the stock market and the cost of college has followed the cost of prescription drugs for old people of which I am fast becoming one. Having a child or two headed for college hastens the process, it appears. It has been a test for me, but I find my manly man self turning into my mother, in the "What are you going to pursue as a career for the rest of your life?" mode. This, we ask of teenagers, while refusing to consciously admit that we ourselves still have no clue as to what we want to do when we grow up. Too often the things that make us money are no fun...or against the law. Still some decision of some sort or another has to be made, and some concession to preparing for life after Dad has to be made.

When I think about what I learned in college that prepared me for my career, I get more confused. The facts and skills base that I picked up at the various institutions of learning I attended was obsolete within a few minutes of my entering the business world. I think you go to college to learn how stupid you are, which you don't actually learn until you leave college and try to talk someone out of a paycheck.

 I have this strong personal idea that my children should, at some point in their school life, encounter a rigorous and demanding academic program just like I did. The problem with my experience with this four year period of unreachable goals was that it occurred during my third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. I learned to think critically and question everything. Got me in a lot of trouble throughout my life but, by golly, I can see the trees for the forest, though sometimes only in the retrospection of a mistake made.

I think we have a reasonable school system here in my home county, with all the problems of the world in microcosm but with enough teachers who actually give a flip to make it worthwhile. My own were Miss Walton, Ms Rattery, Mr. Wilkes, I thank you. What a snot I was (still am! ;>) Thanks for letting me to live, though I know the alternative must have crossed your mind at times. Now I hope that my kids can encounter the two or three teachers in higher education that will make a difference for them. Oscar Stembridge, you were the best of all time. Who would have thought an English teacher would be the best for a tech weenie like me? I still don't understand sentence construction but I read a lot.

And David Summers! Head of the Electrical Engineering department at Southern Tech...Still my friend after thirty years. I owe you.

These are the people I want my kids to meet. These are the people who will place seemingly impossible demands on young students who will learn more in failure than success. These are the people that will praise the good effort and show these kids that they are capable of excellence, but that it does not come cheaply. These are the people who suffer the ridiculous system they have work within and still they teach our children.

All I have to do now is find them and ship off my boys to sit at their feet. The search is on for the right ones for my kids, but you know what? These people are everywhere! There aren't enough of them, but every learning institution has them, even the community college down the street. A good education is everywhere you look if you want it. The problem with the world is that so is ignorance!




(Are these actually jokes? )

“President Bush said he also played a lot of sports as a child, but somehow the records were either lost or destroyed.”  Jay Leno

"The Bush administration announced they want to lift the ban on logging as part of their No Tree Left Behind program." Jay Leno

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