A Joyful Noise: Musings from a southern perspective
- Sunday, 25 September 2011
- Written by Joyce Judd
I’ve always been amazed at the potential for new adventures in my life due to my being “Bob’s wife” or “Sandy/Robbie/Jerry/Tim or Melissa’s mom”.
Because of my children, I’ve met and dealt with over 62 teachers (not to mention substitute teachers, guidance counselors, principals, lunch ladies, elementary art and music teachers, etc) in a collective 65 years of public education, primary through secondary. (Don’t believe me? Think of it this way: 5 children in 13 years of school, kindergarten through 12th grade).
For teachers, one of my most memorable adventures was the first grade teacher Melissa had. The original first grade teacher became very sick shortly after school started, and a first-year teacher was hired to fill her position. This first-year teacher was so very sweet and so intentionally desiring to do a wonderful job with the children in her classroom. At our first teacher-parent conference of the year, she sat with me while Melissa played in another area of the room.
At a certain point in our conference, she told me that Melissa had mentioned having 3 siblings still at home. I told her that was correct. She then said Melissa had told her that they all gathered around the dining room table and did their homework at the same time after school. I affirmed that statement as well. She then, as only a first-year teacher can, informed me (an old, OLD mother of 5 remember) that children do much better when they can focus on their own work. She recommended that we buy Melissa her own desk to put in her room so she could concentrate better on her work. No, I did not laugh in this sweet teacher’s face. I did, however, share with her that we had 6 people living in 900 square feet, and that while I understood the ‘optimum’ setting for a child to study, our way seemed to be working well. It was a very good year…
A more recent adventure in being Bob’s wife, taught me three very important facts. You should pay attention and remember these: 1) Croc shoes are not impenetrable; 2) every puncture wound should be seen by a doctor immediately. It doesn’t matter the age, physical condition of the puncture-ee or the seemingly-un-seriousness of the wound. Go to the doctor!; and 3) if you’re going to have a puncture wound, it’s much better – medically speaking – to step on an old rusty nail than on a splinter (or baby log as the case may be). Puncture wounds caused by organic materials are much more difficult to treat/repair/heal.
I’m not going to go into much further detail, except to add that in the process of learning these three very valuable lessons, I have also had the opportunity to meet the terrific staff of the Charles George Veterans Medical Center in Asheville, NC; both in their Emergency Department and the third floor medical unit. Mr. Bob was a ‘guest’ of the VA for a several days, because neither of us realized how serious puncture wounds could be. I believe we’ve learned it now.
I still have the last birthday gift my mother gave me. No, I’m not intending to be overly sentimental. I’m just making a statement. I realized this the other day as I was looking at my “collectibles” after a previous column. And then I realized, “hmm…that was the last birthday present mother gave me”. And then of course, because I’m me, I “blamed” her for starting my Wilton Cake Pan collection. Yes, kids, I’ve collected these silly pans for over 30 years now (the first one, from mom, was in l980…I turned 30 that year). I think maybe I’ve paid full price for 3 of the pans, the rest I’ve purchased at yard sales and flea markets.
That first pan is the stand-up panda bear pan, and I’ve had such fun with it! I’ve used it to make cakes for baby showers and kids birthdays; it’s been a brown bear, a pink (or blue as needed) bear, and it’s been a panda bear (food color makes the difference). I’ve also used it to make a plaster-of-paris doorstop. It took for-EVER to solidify, but it was so cute when finished! Then I found a Raggedy Ann pan, and then the Doggie pan, and then the Froggy pan, and then the Disney Castle pan, the stand-up Christmas tree pan…and then the….well, you get the drift. I now have about 20-25 pans.
Then the problem became how to store these pans safely so they won’t get bent? Oh hey – a little brad and a hammer took care of that problem. Yep, just along the edging of the pan, simply put a little hole and then hang the pan on the same-sized brad on the wall. So, guess what my kitchen walls are decorated with? Good guess.
All the flat pans (I have pans that would bake a 5 layer wedding cake) are stored in drawers and cabinets because there’s only so much wall space, you know? I don’t use them as much now that our children are grown and gone, but our daughter-in-law has begun using them for her children and for others as well. I’m sure mother had no idea what she was starting, but she would be pleased to know that I’ve learned to share.
Speaking of cakes, we’re coming into the fall season, and as the weather turns a little cooler, most of us are finding ourselves having fun playing in the kitchen. If you’re in the baking mood, but don’t have anyone specific in mind to bake for, why not whip up some pumpkin bars, pies, or cookies for your local heroes? I’ve never seen fire fighters or police officers turn down treats, especially the homemade kind.
And while you’re baking, say a little prayer for the ones you’re fixing for. These men and women need our prayers and support as they go about their duties protecting our communities.