The recent Iowa trip has been more or less a metaphor for my life as a whole. I don’t mean to be funny but… wait just a minute! Yes I do. This is corn-shucking humor blog, after all! But the metaphor is still there. I was born in Iowa.
Dawn broke over the farm yesterday where Uncle Harry used to live with his wife, Aunt Jean, and their three kids, Karen, Bob, and Tom. Bob was in my class at school. We got into a fight once over who should be Robin Hood when we were playing with all the cousins in the old brooder house on Grandpa Aldrich’s farm, the farm where mom and dad now live. It was a fight that got so intense that we were throwing broke flower-pot shards at each other in anger. Bob’s hand got cut so badly that he had to go to Belmond and get stitches. Dang, was I in trouble after that. Bob’s version, the shard I threw hit him right in the hand, directly between his thumb and pointer finger and cut him. My version, he cut himself as he threw a pot shard at me, and it cut him leaving his hand. Everyone believed Bob, of course. I’m the nutty kid that always told the stories that gave the girls nightmares. And those stories were never true… mostly. So they couldn’t believe my version.
But life, like days and car trips, moves on. We had to pack up the little Ford Escort that brought me home and take off once more for Texas. I was a little bit worried about the dog. She didn’t poop as much in Iowa as she normally does in Texas. Well, we figured that out on the way back. She pooped a lot of funny colors at every rest-stop dog park on the way back to Texas because of all the people food she had eaten. She got fed better in Iowa apparently. And it was stuff like stolen Doritos and other stuff that is so not-good-for-her.
But going back to Texas with two kids and a dog is a lot like me after college, moving to Texas via Trailways bus in order to become a teacher. I got a job in Cotulla, Texas, the place where LBJ taught way back when he was a young Texan and still working at being good at telling the REALLY BIG LIES. I think I mentioned this before, but all the kids in the painting above were real kids I taught in my first year teaching (except for the kid sleeping.,, nobody did anything but hop around and yell at me my first year as a teacher… including the principal). Oh, and the window is imaginary. I taught for three years in a windowless concrete box with only buzzing fluorescent lights to keep the monsters from killing and eating me… or each other. Within a decade of that first class, two of the boys had been to prison, three were already dead, and one became a star lineman for the Texas A&M football team.
And over time I got closer and closer to my goal. My skills became bigger and better as a teacher. I grew in wisdom and power. Honestly, the grass in the picture was closer to the camera than I was, so I am looming in the sky above the photographer, not tiny and smaller than the grass. So maybe I better claim the picture was taken by fairies. Yeah, that’s it. Down there in the grass. Iowegian fairies got a hold of my camera and took the picture. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. (See. I never really learned to get away with the REALLY BIG LIES. A teacher, as a storyteller, has to also be a truth-teller.)
So we returned to Texas, and that is probably where the sunset of my life will take place. I am retired from teaching now. I am blogging and telling lies instead… well, writing fiction. I should have another book published soon. And it has fairies in it. So maybe there is still time to pull off the REALLY BIG LIES.