November the month of All Saints Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving has put me in a mood of remembering. Remembering loved ones, friends, enemies, good times and bad. Yesterday I substituted in a kindergarten class. We read a story together about animals and a scarecrow and then the students did a cut out art project. It was an awesome lesson for me. I love to read stories and art projects are always a hit with the kids. The time flew by, I had fun teaching: making funny voices in the story, showing how scissors work, remembering what sound a goat makes, reminding them to take turns, telling the kids how old I am, etc. I was reminded of a song by John McCutcheon. Here is a sample:
“Of all you learned here remember this the best,
Don’t hurt each other and clean up your mess,
Take a nap every day wash before you eat,
Hold hands stick together look before you cross the street
And remember the seed in the little paper cup
First the root goes down and the plant grows up.”John McCutcheon – “Kindergarten Wall”
Last week I led a gathering on the topic “remembering loved ones”. We sang “Circle Be Unbroken” and “Wind Beneath My Wings” and told stories of those we admired and/or loved. Some had passed away and others were still here with us. I posed the question, “Who do you miss more the people you agreed with or those you fought with?” More than one person brought up their spouse as someone they both loved and fought with. I thought that was touching and true. When I was teaching high school in Cannon Falls, Minnesota the teachers would line up on graduation day and the graduates would walk by and shake our hands or give us a hug. It was an emotional time for me. I found that I had the most tears for the students who had been the biggest pain in the butt. That always took me by surprise.
I was thinking for me, places are what trigger memories of others. When I’m out on a lake, I think of my dad and fishing; when I’m walking on my favorite trail, I remember that time I was with my sweetheart and we saw all those fireflys; when I’m in the old family church, I think of my grandpa the preacher, man, his sermons were long; when I was coaching football this passed fall, I often thought of my high school football coach, Mr. Hanson. Mr. Hanson was one of my heros. He was an awesome coach and also probably the best teacher I ever had. I took calculus from him. He was an artist with chalk. All sorts of colors and pictures adorned his algebraic masterpieces. He also would tell stories about his childhood that were really entertaining. On Fridays in the fall he would show game films from last week’s football game and try to teach the non-football fans something about the game. I loved his class.
Take a minute this month and remember someone. If they’ve passed say a prayer or take a minute to remember something about them or something you did with them. If they’re still here, give them a call.