Thursday, March 11, 2010

Roads...Less Traveled

There are many roads in Kansas, very few of which I actually drive with any frequency. 9th Street I drive down, 21st Street I drive down, 135 I drive down...well up I guess since I usually take it north. I don't have the need, or often the chance to drive any of the other ones, especially the really winding ones that can lead to forgotten parts of the state that somehow make you want to slow down and take in the view. These roads lead to places that make me think how pretty Kansas is sometimes.

Even though I don't have any need to drive these roads, I'm dating someone who does. Which leads to Saturdays filled with driving, photographic adventures, one giant sized iced tea from Sonic (one of the perks of living here!), and memories.

Last Saturday, James and I set out for an adventure. We drove through sleepy Kansas towns, taking pictures, laughing, me learning to drive a manual. It was the making of a great day. Until we ran out of gas.

I, with my big mouth, had literally said 5 minutes before that "I've never ran out of gas". Ha, ate my words on that one. One phone call to AAA, an hour wait later, one incredibly uncomfortable me because I really really REALLY had to pee we were on our way, no worse for the wear.

The most ironic part, well parts of the day? We ran out of gas across the street from the car dealership that James works at and in front of an RV retailer. Across the street from a car dealership, and in front of an RV retailer with about a billion bathrooms, none of which I could use.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


It was one of those early spring days, like Indian summer in reverse last Friday. After running out for lunch I came back to school and decided to open the window to get some of the early spring air into the classroom. I don't know what exactly it was that set us all off, the open window, the changing weather, the state assessments around the corner, or the fact that it was 3:30 on a Friday, but some extraordinary force came over the classroom.

I began to lose focus. I began to goof off. It spread.

I had taken off my flip-flops earlier and was walking around the room barefoot, which I do a lot when it gets nicer out. I was working with a group of 4 on some math they were still struggling with. It was one of the groups that can be a bit more challenging, and things often take longer. While I was waiting for them to finish writing what I had asked, I decided it would be a good idea to pick up a base 10 block with my toes.

The little girl who was sitting to my right thought that this was just the most hilarious thing she had ever seen. She got the giggles, the kind that started in her belly and seemed to bubble out of everywhere. She laughed, and laughed. Soon the other 3 students joined her, and then I. Not long after that most of the other students, who 5 minutes ago were working diligently, were looking at our group laughing along with us, even though they had no idea what they were laughing at.

This prompted me to think about the end of the school year, perhaps it is the weather, hinting towards spring, the end of yet another school year. This group of urchins and I have been together for two years, and I am beginning to feel very melancholy about the end of this era. If you can be friends with 24 eight and nine year olds, I am. If some of the people you look forward most to seeing are 4 feet tall, mine are. I love them, respect them and learn from them, probably more than they do from me.

And next fall, when Indian summer comes and a new wind is blowing through my classroom, I will miss them.