Hob-nobbing with my brother wizards.

September 29, 2013 § 5 Comments

Author on the road.When asked why he is taking off in that balloon, the Wizard of Oz replies, “Why, to confer, converse and otherwise hob-nob with my brother wizards.”

And that’s what I did last week, although “brother” is misleading, as most in the field of English and reading education are female.

The wizards of the Florida Reading Association gathered in Orlando, at a sprawling resort called Rosen’s Shingle Creek, which did its best to convince us we were not in Kansas anymore.

Which was good.

Teachers spend their working lives in Kansas, struggling against tight budgets, standardized tests administered to non-standardized kids, seventeen minute lunches and no bathroom breaks.

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Leaf harvest.

September 21, 2013 § 8 Comments

Virginia Creeper.Every autumn there came a day,

(invariably a Saturday or Sunday)

When the colors peaked.

And my father and mother sat in the front seat

of perhaps the maroon Studebaker with the

I LIKE IKE button on the visor.

In the back, my sister and I held empty paper bags,

for the leaf harvest, my brother and his Tonka truck between us.

My father would drive ’til he came to the railroad track,

a silver zipper down the back of the

gaudy dress of September.

Sassafras Leaves,While Chris rode Daddy’s shoulders

Claudia and I candled found leaves against the sun.

Beautiful, more beautiful, most! We dropped them in our sacks.

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Under the rainbow.

September 14, 2013 § 13 Comments

Her whole job is an exercise in short-term memory.

Which one gets scrambled. Which gets over-easy. Which cup gets topped off with high-test, which with decaf.

She’s so dog tired some days she only knows right from left if she looks at her hands: regular right, decaf left.

A cup of Joe.She will probably arrive at the pearly gates armed with regular right, decaf left. And she’ll say to St. Peter, “Can I warm that up for you, hon?”

She’ll top off his cup, then ask, “You mind getting that big door? My hands are kinda full.”

She’ll be wearing her white support hose, hopefully without runs–and hopefully it will be close to payday, so she’ll just have had her hair done.

Couldn’t hurt to stride into glory looking good.

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I worry about you.

September 8, 2013 § 8 Comments

Falling elephant.I come from a family of inveterate worriers.

If worrying were a profession we would be at the top of the game.

I know, worrying has a bad reputation.

I am here to speak about its positive side.

What is worrying anyway?

Viewed correctly, worrying is an emotionally charged form of planning. Worry scans the horizon of upcoming events and follows the paths of multiple possible outcomes.

My grandfather, Nonno, rehearsed potentially difficult encounters taking both sides of the conversation. “I will say…then he will say…then I will say…” until he had worked himself into a froth over the nerve of the other guy, talking to him like that!

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