by P. S. Gifford
|Monday, August 28, 2006
“Now class, as I am sure most of you know, a blue moon is the name given to a full moon appearing twice in a month. As a full moon happens every twenty-nine days, and months, with the exception of February have thirty or thirty-one days this means that a blue moon only happens once every two and a half years. As I am sure you are also aware we have a blue moon coming up this weekend…On Saturday night. As your homework for the weekend I want all of you to write a story about something you wish would happen to you that night…And remember kids, keep it family orientated and please remember that spelling counts. Also…”
Just as Mr. Miller the tall, scruffily dressed eighth grade English teacher was about to say his final words, the end of day school bell erupted and the students raced out of the classroom.
“Enjoy your week off, and please do not forget your homework assignments,” he shouted above the hullabaloo.
Mr. Miller simply shook his head at the unruly spectacle... ‘I don’t get any respect,’ he thought as he dejectedly packed the motley array of essays he had collected that afternoon into his beaten old brown brief case. ‘No respect whatsoever…’
Then he placed his well-worn brown checkered flat cap onto his balding head, locked the classroom, and shuffled his way along to the employee car park…As he approached his classic, twenty-three year old Ford, he noticed that the rear tire was flat.
‘That’s the third time this month that someone has let down one of my tires…’ he thought as he glared about him accusingly. Some older children were running away giggling.
‘What is the world coming to?’ he thought dejectedly.
Placing his briefcase on top of the car, he set about changing it, as his fellow teachers got into their cars, watching him with bemused faces…
Undeterred by the attention, Mr. Miller, raised the car up on the old jack, and managed to unbolt the deflated tire, and exchange it for the spare…
It was as he was driving home, that he happened, whilst at a stoplight, to glance up at the moon, almost full, which somehow seemed to beckon him.
That Saturday, was spent how most Saturday’s in Mr. Miller’s life were…Alone and grading papers from children who no-longer believed in the importance of the written word.
‘This is world full of streaming video and computer games…I wonder how long it will be when books are made completely redundant? By golly even the school books next year are being replaced by computer programs for their lap tops…Most kids today haven’t even written a letter…They email and text each other…Whatever texting is.”
He affectionately glanced about his cluttered office; books are piled up in every available space, and smiled. Then he peered out of the window, to the moon once more, now looming large and bright in the near cloudless sky.
“Ah yes- the mystical blue moon,” he whispered out loud. “I wonder if it is true what they say about you old chap,” he muttered half to himself and half out loud as he warmly winked at it. “Do you truly make dreams come true I wonder?”
Mr. Miller then heaved a heavy sigh.
“Oh how I dearly wish that all the kids in my class would know the love of the written word. To appreciate that nothing is more beautiful than a well thought out phrase. If they could only find one books to cherish and take to their hearts, I would be over the moon, with delight…How perfect that would surely be.”
Then once more he reluctantly returned his focus to the essays in front of him.
He looked at the title of the next one he had to grade the theme was supposed to be on modern hero’s…Whys my hero is gansta rapper Dr C and the heavy posse, Mr. Miller raised his red pen to the page and shook his head in repugnance …
‘Kids today are lacking decent role models,’ he thought as he attacked the work with his red ink.
It was one week later, the first day back from spring break, on a Monday morning when the first of his classes filed into his room that he immediately noticed something different about them. Normally there was a far away look in their eyes, yet today there were actual signs of life. Some eyes actually twinkled with apparent interest back up at him. He also noticed that instead of their normally sloppy clothes they all looked neat and even uniform. Some of the kids who on the Friday before break had worn their hair long and scruffy now had short cropped hair cuts.
It was when the normally rude and particularly obnoxious Jimmy Jacob’s placed what appeared to be a home made apple pie on his desk. He gently placed it next to a beautifully arranged flower arrangement, which was adorned with a yellow bird made from tissue paper, and as the tantalizing aroma of apples, nutmeg, brown sugar and cinnamon gently wafted up to his eager nostrils from the impeccably browned crust, he could not contain his curiosity anymore.
“Say, Jimmy…I can’t help but notice that your attitude seems to have improved.”
Jimmy brushed back his perfectly parted blonde hair and looked earnestly up at him with his deep set blue eyes.
“It was a funny thing, on Saturday night I got a peculiar urge to read, but not just anything mind you, no my overwhelming desire was to read a certain powerful, life altering book…I suppose it was some sort of an epiphany. And furthermore calling my friends the next morning over some fresh made orange and papaya juice I realized that I was not alone in my desire to read it…Over the last week we have all read it, some of use several times. We have discussed the work in great detail and I have to add it has completely changed our outlook. We are even learning to quote from the book entire meaningful paragraphs…”
“What book was that?” Mr. Miller questioned wondering if his class had suddenly all found religion.
“Martha Stewart’s guide to living,” he answered, in a matter of fact tone. All the children joined in with precise unison as he continued… “And we all think that is a good thing, a very good thing indeed.”
Mr. Miller as he scanned the now flawlessly manicured class, all sitting with perfect posture, with all their books, papers, pens and staplers neatly arranged identically on their spotless desks- inwardly screamed.