Day 5: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty

Day # 5 Question: The person (outside of my family) who has had the greatest influence on my life is…

I have to be honest; really, really honest. Of the crazy cast of characters that I have idolized or associated with, outside of my family, none, and I mean none, have had a greater influence on me than the “person” that I am about to honor in this post. I know, gentle, or perhaps not so gentle, reader you are expecting a sappy tale about how a teacher, or perhaps how Oprah, completely changed my life and made me the awesome human being that I am today. Well, that’s not going to happen. For at least 39 years of my life I was a drifter, lost and looking for just the right person to latch onto to reveal to me the vast secrets of life. I went about my daily business, empty and wanting, until one fateful day when recess duty changed everything. I know you teachers out there are wondering HOW recess duty could be life altering. Battling the elements and breaking up whiney fights is usually less than enlightening. However, this fateful recess duty was on the last day of school when all things seem possible.

I was zoned out, totally allergized from the maintenance men mowing, and only semi-watching the kids, when a small voice (just kidding, there are no small voices on a playground) informed me that there was a snake by the baseball diamond. I trekked over to left field, knowing that I was no Steve Irwin. If this viper attacked, I would be pulling an Osama and using the closest kid as a human shield. As I got closer, I could see the tall grass wiggling. I was just about to start scanning the playground for the perfect serpent buffer, when a tiny, striped kitten appeared. In retrospect, I should have noticed that a light poured down from the heavens and a full chorus of angels began to sing, I should have realized that this was it; that I had met the being I’d been searching for my entire life, but there were more pressing matters at hand. This poor little kitty had been grazed by the mower. Her face was cut and she was struggling to walk. I whipped out my cell phone (not allowed, but much better than using a kid as a human snake shield) and called my daughter. She called our vet and then hurried to the school with the cat carrier. Soon my future mentor was at Dr. Daniel’s being cured while I was enduring an end-of-the-year party. After goodbyes were said, and my head stopped buzzing from the noise, I headed to the vet’s where my tiny Buddha was waiting for me. Her wounds were superficial and her back legs weren’t damaged, only temporarily out of socket.  She had been given her first round of shots, some antibiotics and was ready to go home with me.

You have never seen the face of true appreciation until you’ve gazed upon a tiny being, who has just lapped up a lion’s share of cat milk, snuggled deep in the fleecy covers of her new cat bed while kneading the air. Sophie has taught me the important things in life: nap when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, and play when the urge strikes you. Never be afraid to jump higher than it seems possible and always land on your feet. Always ask nicely for what you want and reward any gift with great affection. Most of all she’s taught me to remember that even on your very worst day, the possibility of a better life is always on the horizon. (She’s also taught me that drinking from the toilet is unacceptable, as is scratching up an $800 chair, but I already kind of knew that!)

My furry sage finishing up a well-deserved treat!
Never be afraid to go for it!

Is this post a ruse to show off my adorable cat? You bet it is! 

Have the best day ever, dear readers! 🙂

Day 2: 31 Days of Blogging Honesty

 

 

 

 

 

Question #2:  The most expensive item I have ever stolen is…

I wish I had a fabulously scandalous answer for this question, but I don’t. Unfortunately, for the sake of this topic, my life of crime is pretty limited. I’ve accidently put ink pens in my purse after I’ve signed credit card receipts. I once took a maxi-pad from a nearly full box that someone left in the cabinet of the ladies room at my old workplace (hey, it was an emergency), but I replaced it a week later. I’m typically a pretty honest person, and the only theft story I have is when I took a Tootsie Roll from a little mom-n-pop grocery store when I was five. It’s funny, I don’t actually remember the taking part of this tale, but I clearly remember the giving back part.

Chocolate Goodness!

The slow tearing sound of the waxed paper covering alerted my mother that I was up to something in the back seat of our old 1964 Buick Skylark. This was well before 5 year-olds were required to be strapped into pricey booster seats, or even fancy seatbelts, so I was probably sprawled out on my stomach across the seat as I tried to unwrap my secret acquisition as slowly as possible. I’d hoped to have my favorite chewy, chocolaty treat stuck between the crevices of my back teeth before my mother realized that I had clandestinely purloined it from the bottom shelf of the penny candy section of Mike’s Grocery. As I was about to peel off the last noisy bit of paper that confirmed my status as a Tootsie Roll thief, my mother, who was about to pull out of the parking lot, asked the familiar question, “What are you up to back there?” “Nothing,” I nervously assured her as I popped the candy into my mouth paper and all.

My mother never accepted “Nothing” as an answer from me. I was, after all, the kid who dug a muddy, four foot hole in the back of our perfectly landscaped yard while she was inside having tea with her friends from the garden club. I was the kid who, while at church last Sunday, had made a loud hooting sound, during silent prayer, just to hear it echo off of the endlessly high ceilings. I was also the kid who usually had a frowny face on the “Exhibits proper classroom behavior” section of my kindergarten progress report, so when I gave the answer of “Nothing,” my mother always investigated. Before I had time to swallow, she had turned around and pried the glommy goody from my mouth and wrapped it in a tissue from her purse. After a stern lecture on shoplifting, that included the threat of jail time, she placed the wet package in my small hand with a disappointed expression and quietly said, “You took this from Mike, now you have to return it, and apologize.” Mike, the store’s owner was a hulk of a man, whose white store apron usually had a bit of blood on it because he mostly worked behind the meat counter. I was scared of Mike and begged my mother to let me return the Tootsie Roll to his kindly wife Betty, but she wouldn’t budge.

I’ll never forget the fear jolting through my tiny body as my little legs trudged unwillingly back to the meat counter, nor will I disremember the humiliation of admitting my wrongdoing. I do remember Mike thanking me both for my honesty and for the penny, borrowed from my mother, which I handed over to him as compensation for my misdeed. I also recall that Mike didn’t seem as scary to me in subsequent visits to his store. In fact, he usually made a point of saying hello to me by name. I was never sure whether this was because he considered me a new found little friend, or because he wanted me to know that he was keeping an eye on me. So, as a reformed shoplifter, I’ll admit that the monetary value of the most expensive thing I’ve ever stolen was one penny; however the life lesson value was priceless!

You'd better keep your hands off of me, kids!