Words for Wednesday was begun by Delores and has become a moveable feast of word or picture or music prompts to encourage us to write stories, poems, or whatever strikes our fancy.
(It's a long story this week, but this is where the words took me.)
This week's prompts are:
"Young man, you need to go see the school counselor!"
The words were ringing in his ears as he shuffled down the hall with his pass. He was not good in school, he wasn't going to be good in school, he didn't like school, and he sure didn't like the idea of where he was heading now, to talk to some boring lady about why he didn't like school.
The trouble started this time when the whole school had to ASSEMBLE for the weekly whatever-it-was the principal called it, a meeting that he usually just tuned out and tried to get through. This morning, he had decided it would be fun to try to get down the halls to the auditorium by only hopping on one foot, or at least it would relieve the boredom of walking single file and silently.
He wasn't doing too badly until he lost his balance trying to change direction at the end of the first hall. The teacher who saw him fall and take down two other students had marched him down to her own classroom and given him the pass, and now here he was with no time to BASK in the joy of getting to miss the weekly whatever-it-was because he had what he feared was an even worse meeting to attend.
The school he'd gone to before had a counselor, and he'd had a run in with that one and didn't want more of the same. He figured they all gave LIP-SERVICE to the idea of helping you when what they really wanted was just what the teachers wanted, to get you to sit down and be quiet and learn boring stuff.
He knocked on the door quietly, hoping whoever was in there wouldn't hear so he could sneak back to his classroom. If asked, he'd say he tried to go but the counselor must have been in the meeting thingy, and besides, he hoped the teacher who sent him would figure he went and not ask any questions.
He'd heard about JUDGEMENT day, and he wondered if standing here awaiting his fate felt the same. Just as he was thinking it was safe to slink back to his classroom, the door was yanked open by a woman in a dress with so many colors it reminded him of a QUILT.
She smiled and said, "I thought I heard a knock at the door, but I wasn't sure. You aren't who I was expecting, but that's okay, come on in!" She waved him over to a place where there were two chairs facing each other and he was surprised. Every time he'd been hauled before anyone in authority that person had sat behind a desk with him in front of it feeling small and INSIGNIFICANT.
"I was waiting for the maintenance man to come by with a hammer so I can hang up my picture," she said, "but that's okay, we can talk while I wait. I'm Ms. Lolly, and you are..."
Handing her his hall pass, he said, "I'm Marcus." She took the pass without looking at it, tossed it onto the desk behind her and indicated that he was to sit. "Hi, Marcus!" she said brightly, then, to his shock she grabbed a small plastic container on the little side table that was between their chairs, took off the lid, and said, "Have a cookie."
He hesitated, and she said, "Go on, my husband says he MARRIED me for my home made cookies, and he's my best FRIEND so he has no reason to lie and I promise they're good."
He took a cookie and without being told, remembered that it's polite to say "thank you" and did so. She told him he was welcome, gave him a paper towel to put in his lap for crumbs that would inevitably fall from what was a very large chocolate chunk cookie after she located said towels on her crowded bookshelf, and sat back down.
"What's up in your world today, Marcus?" she asked. He wasn't sure how to answer, so he said, "The paper has the reason I was sent here..."
"Oh, I'm not worried in the least about the paper. I want to know what's up in your world today."
Marcus looked at the floor, trying to figure out how to put anything into words that any grown-up anywhere might understand.
"School's no fun, right?" Ms. Lolly said and he looked up at her. "That's what I always thought until I figured out I was good at helping people, and I liked doing it, so I had a reason to at least try to make peace with the learning process."
"I'm not good at it," he said, then added with a defiant look, "and I don't want to be!"
"Then what do you want to be?" she asked without seeming to notice the attitude he'd taken.
"I want to draw!" he said. "Art's the only thing I'm good at."
Ms. Lolly laughed, "When I was in school, I liked to draw, too, only I'd draw ugly pictures of the teachers and I wasn't good at it and it always got me into trouble. It was fun while I was doing it, though!"
Marcus sat there trying to decide if she was being serious, and realized she was. "Did you get sent to the counselor's office?" he asked, surprised at his own boldness.
"No, vice-principal, who was meaner than snot. He was the ugliest person at the school, too. Him I only drew when I got home where he wouldn't get to see it. Like I said, I wasn't good at drawing but it was fun. What do you draw?"
"Everything," Marcus said, his eyes brightening a little. "Would you like to see?"
"Sure, I'd love to!" Ms. Lolly got up and while looking for a pad of paper and a pencil asked him, "What do you draw, people, or pets, or...?"
"Lots of things," he answered. "What would you like?"
"I'd ask you to draw our vice-principal, but if someone came in we'd probably both get in trouble, so how about a cookie?"
Marcus grinned. "That's easy," he said and drew a quick picture of one of the cookies after she took the lid off the container for him to use the top one, with its huge chocolate chunk right in the middle, as a model. He'd finally gotten secure enough to take a bite of his own, and then took a second bite and drew a second cookie on the page, with two bites out of it.
"You did those very well, you are an artist, very CREATIVE," Ms. Lolly said. "You know what that means, right?"
"It means, Marcus, that a MYRIAD of jobs are open to you in this world when you grow up, from book ILLUSTRATOR to portrait painter to graphic designer. It means you can train to be an artist and do what you want all your life."
"I thought everybody has to go to college and get a desk job or be a failure and just work at a store or a McDonalds or something." Marcus sounded like he was reciting something he'd heard many times.
"Who told you that?" Ms. Lolly's face got hard for the first time since he'd come in. "That is so not true." Her face softened again and she added, " Anyone can be a success by finding a way to make money at doing what they love. The trick is in getting the right training. You need art school.
"The problem is that no matter what training you go for, even art school, you have to at least be able to read. And if you don't learn math, you can't count how much money you make!"
Marcus' eyes got big as he looked at her trying not to laugh. They couldn't hold it eventually and both laughed loud and long until they were interrupted by a knock at the door.
"Come in!" Ms. Lolly called, and this time it was the maintenance man with a hammer. "Just leave it on my desk, I'll drop it back by your mechanical room on my way out this afternoon," she told him.
"That's fine, Ms. Lolly," he said, then added, "is that some of your cookies I see?"
"Yes, have one," she told him, passing a paper towel and letting him take the cookie with the largest chocolate chunk right in the middle.
"You do make good cookies, Ms. Lolly," he said.
"Flattery will get you everywhere," she smiled and he was gone.
"That Mr. Josephs, he loves my cookies. He's a success, you know," she looked directly at Marcus.
"Of course. He told me he always loved working with his hands, building and painting and repairing things, so he loves his work, he does it well, it makes a living for him, everyone on the staff her likes him. There's lots of ways to be a success, not just by working at a desk. Making a PRODUCT, like an artwork, can be a very successful way to make a life, not just a living."
They were both quiet for a moment, then the bell rang and Ms. Lolly jumped up.
"Here," she said, grabbing a pad of hall passes from her desk, "I need to give you this so you can go back to your class. Also, I'm going to make a standing appointment for you to come see me every week at this time. We need a plan to help you get through school so you can be an artist someday and be a success at it."
Marcus looked up at her and had some hope in his eyes where she hadn't seen any before.
"We'll get through together, I promise," she said, and he knew she meant it.
Arbor Day -- Brazil
Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper Celebration Day -- Fairy Calendar (Goblins)
Eleven Days of Global Unity -- Day 11, Peace (to coincide with the International celebration; sponsored by We, the World)
Independence Day -- Armenia(1991); Belize(1981); Malta(1964)
International Day of Peace -- UN
Kharisteria -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate; feast of Aremis Agrotera[the huntress] that became a thankgiving for the victory of the battle of Marathon)
Kwama Nkrumah's Birthday/Founder's Day -- Ghana
Miniature Golf Day -- golf the fun way! (separate from National Miniature Golf Day in May)
National Pecan Cookie Day
National Rehabilitation Day -- US (on the Wednesday of National Rehab Awareness Week)
National School Backpack Awareness Day 2022 -- US (or anywhere else that you want to weigh your child's backpack on the 3rd Wednesday of September, to make sure it's not heavy enough to hurt them)
St. Matthew the Evangelist's Day (Patron of accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, security forces, security guards, stockbrokers, tax collectors; Salerno, Italy; Trier, Germany; Villa d'Ogna, Italy)
Student's Day and Spring Day -- Argentina
Throw Away Something Day -- you have the internet's permission to get rid of that hideous gift; if you can't bring yourself to throw it out, donate it
World Alzheimer's Day
World Gratitude Day
Nicole Richie, 1981
Luke Wilson, 1971
Ricki Lake, 1968
Faith Hill, 1967
Darva Conger, 1965
Rob Morrow, 1962
Nancy Travis, 1961
David James Elliot, 1960
Dave Coulier, 1959
Ethan Boen, 1957
Bill Murray, 1950
Stephen King, 1947
Kay Ryan, 1945
Fannie Flagg, 1944
Bill Kurtis, 1940
Henry Gibson, 1935
Leonard Cohen, 1934
Larry Hagman, 1931
Chuck Jones, 1912
H.G. Wells, 1866
Maurice Barrymore, 1849 (family patriarch)
Francis Hopkinson, 1737
"NYPD Blue"(TV), 1993
"Glengarry Glen Ross"(Play), 1983
"Monday Night Football"(TV), 1970*
"Perry Mason"(TV), 1957
"The Texaco Star Theater"(TV), 1948
My Weekly Reader(Magazine, first issue date), 1928
*Browns 31, Jets 21
Today in History:
Richard the Lionheart captured, 1192
Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa orders Jews of Holland to wear a badge, 1451
John and Nicolaas van der Heyden patent a fire extinguisher, 1677
Nathan Hale arrested for spying, 1776
The Pennsylvania Packet & Daily Advertiser becomes the first successful US daily newspaper, 1784
Joseph Smith, Jr. claims that the Angel Moroni gives him the gold plates from which he translates the Book of Mormon, 1827
The Duryea Motor Wagon Company becomes the first auto manufacturer, 1895
"Kit Carson", the first cowboy film, premiers in the US, 1903
Publication of Tolkien's "The Hobbit", 1937
Bahrain, Bhutan and Qatar join the United Nations, 1971
Sandra Day O'Connor is unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female US Supreme Court justice, 1981
Brunei joins the United Nations, 1984
Deep Space 1 flies within 2,200 km of Comet Borrelly, 2001
The Galileo mission is terminated by sending the probe into Jupiter's atmosphere, 2003
Hurricane Rita becomes the third most intense storm hurricane (dropped to 4th on October 19, just a few weeks later), 2005
al-Shabaab Islamic militants attack the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 67 people, 2013
Caltech scientists publish a study in the journal "Current Biology" showing that the jellyfish Cassiopea is the first animal without a brain that is known to actually sleep, 2017
Scientists announce they’ve found the world’s oldest animal fossil at 558 million years old, a species called Dickinsonia, in the White Sea of Russia, 2018
Because their "Happy Meals" make it one of the largest toy distributors in the world, McDonald's announces plans by 2025 to "drastically" reduce the amount of plastic it distributes, 2021