Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Kids Will be Kids...Not All Kids

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my car with my son watching his daughter play soccer in an inter-school tournament. There was a group of boys, from a local school, wandering along the edge of the parking lot, eating chips and, seemingly, killing time until their next game.

My son's truck was parked two cars over, where the boys were standing. I was startled when my son jumped out of the car and hurried over to the two boys, the third quickly distancing himself from his teammates saying "I want no part of this."

"What were you doing in my truck?" my son asked. He got the usual 'kid' answer...nothing. He had seen the boys reaching in the open window of his truck, where his phone was sitting on the seat.

There was little further discussion as the boys left, but their greasy (from eating potato chips) fingerprints were all over the window and door of the truck.

We kept our eyes on the group, as they kept their eyes on us. In fact, they seemed to delight in wandering by the car, pointing at us, taunting and laughing. They got others on the team involved and we had a parade of soccer players hovering near us.

I thought this was how mob mentality worked. One person, gets others involved until a situation is out of hand.

We happened to be visited by the coach of our team, a new teacher to the school who came to introduce himself, and told him what events had transpired. We fully believed the first two boys were intending to steal something from the truck...the phone, the smokes, or maybe a deeper search for money. Their efforts were thwarted because they didn't know the driver was two cars away and not down the field at the sidelines.

This teacher drew the coach/teacher from the boys' team aside and explained the situation.

Apparently the boys had told the team that a man had spoken to them and I was glad to be a witness or the boys could have caused even more trouble.

I saw the teacher draw the boys aside and speak to them, but what was said, or what was done as a follow through, I have no idea.

When your kids play on a team, and play with other schools, away from the 'home' field, you can only hope they behave in a responsible manner, showing respect for others, respect for property. It is difficult for one teacher to be aware of each child's behavior, especially when the area is crowded with other teams moving about.

Our kids were from a small country school, and I watched, saw that they stayed together except for trips to the bathroom. These other boys, from a school in town, wandered about, not staying close to their team 'spot', a dining style tent, or cover where they had snacks and could leave their gear.

It was a blight on what was otherwise an enjoyable day, a visit with my son and granddaughter.

It was disappointing to see this kind of behavior, the dishonesty, the bully behavior. But, it said well for the school my grandchildren attend and their teacher who was willing to stand up for what was right.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

A Memory from 1947

I'm not a very political person, and yet I'm fascinated by US politics of late, as is the rest of the world.

This latest issue with the NFL and its players brought to mind a story my Dad told me from his university football days.

It was 1947, and my Dad would have been 24 years old, finishing his degree at Ohio University. He was married, living in married quarters on campus, my sister born that same year.

The East West Shrine game is a post season, college football All Star game played each January since 1925. It was historically played in San Francisco, except for the game played in 1942. The location was changed due to the war, following the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 on Pearl Harbor.

My Dad was from a small town in Ohio, had been a United States Marine, though he never saw action. All my life I thought of my Dad as a Gentle Giant. He was 6 foot three and weighed 280 lbs. He was a tough guy, but quiet in his ways. I know there had been troubled time in his youth, but he never spoke of it.

I do remember Dad talking of the East West Shrine Game he played in and I was able to find the roster for that game in 1947.


Dad told me of the bus arriving at this hotel, and some of the players got off the bus before it continued on to another hotel where the remaining players disembarked. This puzzled my Dad and he asked one of his team members what it was all about.

He was informed that the, then called, 'colored' players could not stay at the same hotel. A fine example of segregation. This was a new experience for my Dad, one he could not understand. It bothered him a lot for he told this story many times over the years, and as I remember it, it had a great impact on me.

Color meant nothing to my Dad, it was the merit of the man that counted.

I see the happenings south of the border and can't believe, with all that has occurred in the last 7 decades, we have not come as far as we might have hoped. It seems to be a two steps forward, three steps back kind of thing.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Old Blue

Last fall I threw out my old winter jacket. It was pale blue, with a zipper down the front, no buttons. The cuffs were worn, the coat soiled from wear, and no amount of scrubbing would make it look like new.

The zipper broke a number of years ago and I continued to wear it, dressing accordingly by layering it over a sweatshirt or fleece top.

But, I never got around to buying a new winter coat. I do have a 'good' coat. It's mid calf in length and too heavy to wear shopping, so I save it for dressier times.

I made do last winter with my quilted jean jacket. Lucky for me, I could avoid going out on the worst of our cold winter days, and as we had enough days of fairly good weather, I made do.

My jean jacket went from winter to spring and now it's fall and perfect, again, except we're having an unusually warm start to our fall.

That old blue jacket went from my closet, to a bag in the car. I was undecided as to whether to add it to one of those clothing bins, or toss it in the garbage. I wore it in its well-worn state, so maybe some poor homeless person could use it. I was convinced that any clothes added to those big parking lot bins of clothing, were sorted for resale or give away.

But the bag with the coat stayed in the back of my van, as I found myself unable to part with it. Like the jean jacket, with it's frayed and worn cuff, there's an emotional attachment. It will be much harder to give up the jean jacket, and as it has snaps, no zipper, it still works. I love the two breast pockets, with zippers, and the stylish addition of zippers at the cuff.

I'm a jeans and denim kind of girl, old girl, and I would need to replace this jacket in kind before I see it go.

Funny, how some clothes we wear over and over again, while newer and better items hang in our closets, unworn.

Well, my old coat is finally gone.

My son was putting something in the back of the van and asked why I had all these bags. One fabric store bag had an afghan in it, because you never know when you might need a blanket. Another bag had all my store bags, because I try to avoid the plastic ones. Finally there was the bag with 'old blue'.

"What do you want to do with it?" my son asked.

"I was going to take it to one of those clothing bins," I replied.

He tossed it into the back of his car, stating he also had a couple of bags to go, of too small kids clothes, and as easy as that it was gone.

Decision made, action taken, goodbye old blue coat, you served me well.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Pay Back's a Bitch

I volunteered to pick up my granddaughter from school today, and drive her to work. As she would be working over the dinner hour, I went through the drive thru to pick her up something to eat.  I drove around, killing time, some might think, while she ate, but I called it maximizing the visit time.

There was an issue last year when I was at her house, and she needed a ride to work. Her job at that time was in my town, 18 KM away, so I could drop her off on my way home. She commented that I drove too slow, and never took the highway, so she'd never get to work on time.

I never let her forget her comment, called it Granny Driving and punished her the next few times we were out by driving at horse and buggy speed. I even did this in front of her friends. Who knew teenage girls were so easily embarrassed.

After I let her off at work I was driving home and that song from "Flashdance" came on the radio. It was the one where the people are singing the song "What a Feeling" from the movie, their singing very enthusiastic after eating Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Damn, I thought, I missed another perfect opportunity to tease my beloved granddaughter. What if it had been playing as I picked her up at her co-op, or left her at her work.

Here's the link to the commercial. Well, life is full of missed opportunities, I'm sure I will find another way to pay her back for that 'Granny Driving' comment. She hasn't suffered enough yet.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Memory of a Train

I was doing grandma's taxi service this morning, picking up a couple of the grandkids and taking them to school. (After a stop for breakfast, of course).

As we were driving along the two lane country highway, from one town to the next, I noticed there was a train travelling parallel to us.

I reminded my grandson that when he was little, toddler sized, he loved the trains.

There is an elevated track near the town park where we used to go with the kids. I told him that when he heard the train coming he would run around, all excited, telling everyone "The train is coming, the train is coming."

He was quiet in the back seat, and finally spoke. "You mean I went to random people to tell them about the train?"

Random people? What kind of language is that for a nine year old?

"Yes," I answered. "You told all the people, all the random people."

Kid's got smarts.