Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gratitude Day #25 - My Teachers - 25 Nov 2017

Today I am grateful for my teachers.

And, I have had SO many of them!!

I can still recall the feelings of a scared six-year old girl entering first grade. I hadn't gone to kindergarten, because they told my parents I didn't need to go. (Harumph!)

But, I sweet, large-bosomed woman with bat-wings for arms swept me into her arms, told me how happy she was to meet me, and my fears went away. She started my love of life-long learning that continues to this day.

Years later, after being wheeled to my semi-private room following surgery, I heard this sweet voice through the curtain saying, "Peggy? Little Peggy? Is that you?"

It was Mrs. Boone! My first-grade teacher and I were roommates!! After all of the thousands of students she had taught in the 24 years since I was in her classroom, she remembered ME!

My schoolteachers filled my sponge-like mind with things that I use even to this day. My piano teacher taught my fingers to fly! My church teachers helped to instill a love of God that filled my spiritual soul, and still do to this day.

And once, when I was in my early thirties, I wrote thank you notes to every, single one of my school teachers and my church teachers that had to put up with me in my youth. I let them know they had indeed made a difference in my life, and that I use the knowledge and techniques they filled my mind with.

Speakers at genealogy conferences and on webinars open up new avenues I would never have thought of. The ones I admired from afar for so many years are my colleagues today. I never, EVER expected that to happen.

I only took one college class in my life. When I worked at the University of Akron, I was permitted to take any classes I wanted for free. Not having a lot of confidence at the time, I took a class on how to play the harmonica from a man who used to play with Freddie and the Fendercats.

I wish I had taken more.

I place my parents at the top of the list, for they taught without teaching. All I had to do was look at their example, and recognize this was something I needed to know. Sometimes I used to get weary when my kids would say, "Well, never taught me that." Well, open your eyes and learn like the rest of us do.

Let me tell you about my uneducated mom.

Mom had a keen eye. She taught me how to shoot. She took me out behind the tobacco barn, set up several targets, and wouldn't turn me loose until I satisfied her. Later, while qualifying for my CCW, my instructor was astounded at how I could blow away the center of a target every single time. He asked me who in the world taught me how to shoot.

My Kentucky mama. Enough said.

But, let me tell you an even more important time when she taught me. Over the course of several years, she would take me through the woods, showing me different things I could survive on if I ever became lost. She also taught me things to stay away from.

And, she warned me that if I were ever walking along and suddenly the smell of a cucumber or a muskmelon seemed to be in the air...beware! Why? She told me it would be a copperhead masking its scent.

Yeah, right.

About 2-3 years after that, she once again had me up the holler behind her parents house. I guess I was trying to pay attention, but not close enough.

I seemed to notice a scent in the air that smelled unfamiliar, and turned around to say something to her. She fastened her eyes on me with the "look", and without saying a word, pointed her gaze to the ground.

It was a copperhead!!! And, it was coiled. I knew I was dead.

Now, let me point out that my mom would walk with a bonnet or sunhat on her head, a walking stick, and an apron. In the pocket of the apron, she carried a few rocks.

Seemingly without making a move, she reached down into the pocket of that apron, took a stone, flicked it, and totally decapitated that snake!

I was a blithering idiot. But, I never mocked her again. That woman knew her stuff!

Mom had a lot of wise words that I find myself saying today. She once told me:

"You will learn something from every person you run across.
You may learn a better way of doing things.
Or, you may learn a way to never do something.
Either way, you will learn."

Mother speaks.

So, for all of my teachers in my life, I thank you. You have enriched my life and made it fuller. I have learned things I didn't know that I didn't know.
Dad and Mom were master gardeners, whose flowers and vegetables would cause people to stop at the house just to look.

Mom usually wore a sunhat or a bonnet.

Mom's bonnet is on the right.

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