Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2009

There I was sitting in that classroom as a freshman in high school, it's what seems to be almost 100 years ago. The sun was shining brightly and that old stone and concrete school house was hot and stuffy. The old windows were open to let in a little fresh air and whatever else chose to fly in as none of the windows had any screens on them. I don't even think window screens were even invented yet. As I sat there, my thoughts were not of sitting in that school, but on figuring how I could escape and be free to run along the creek bank or just take a hike through the woods.

As I sat there the sun got hotter and hotter and I watched several bees fly into the school as well as flies and an occasional butterfly. I thought these must be the dumbest bugs in the whole world as they have a nice sunny day to spend outdoors and they choose to go to school! I wanted to be outside and they wanted to be inside! (Perhaps they were just seeking some shade from the sun although I'm sure some of those teachers problem thought they were teaching them too.)

I can remember several times the teachers asked me questions about whatever she was discussing in front of the class but I was miles away thinking about fishing or hunting or something a whole lot more exciting than sitting in a hot class room on a sunny hot day. Seldom did I know the answer or even the question let alone what she was even talking about.

As I looked around the class room I saw a few of my fellow students as bored as I was but yet there were a few who were really into this study thing. Yes some even sat there with their mouths open just taking everything in and I thought at the time there must be something seriously wrong with these kids to actually be enjoying themselves here in school.

I not only wasn't very happy sitting in school I was just plain miserable! I could think of a thousand adventures I wanted to be on instead of having to go to school on perfect sunny days. How about they make us go to school only on days that it rains so we can look forward to having all the nice sunny days to ourselves? My mind raced with thoughts of how to figure out a way to plan my escape without getting into any trouble with the school or my parents.

Lets see if Patsy Lane (who helped out in the office) conveniently forgot to include my name from the absentee list when she typed out the list each morning no one important would even know I wasn't there that day! I could ride the bus to the school and then just sort of wander away towards the creek which was only about 200 yards away! Then I could return as the kids were getting out of school and just climb back on the bus and go home! If I took my lunch to school instead of buying it there I would have lunch by the creek that day and something to take my fish back home in too after the day was over.

A few hooks, some fishing line, sinkers and a knife to cut a small poplar tree down to use for a fishing pole and I was ready. My plan worked perfectly and I spent many days sitting along the creek fishing or catching turtles by hand instead of going to school. Then one day Patsy got sick (how dare her) and missed school and both my name plus Toby Pott's name was on that list and the principal called our parents. We were obviously bad guys to say the least in fact I think the principal almost considered us criminals or at the very least some type of terrorist.

Parents tend to frown on kids skipping school to go fishing too and sometimes they even got on my nerves a little too. What we did was spend a few minutes fishing and skipping school never harmed anyone either. We simply went fishing but yet we were labeled as trouble makers for doing it.

Our parents were not real happy with us for skipping school

(parents are like that) and every teacher in school gave us dirty looks and we were constantly reminded that they were watching us. There would be no more skipping school and going fishing and Toby and I were encouraged not to hang around together. I never understood why everyone got so upset with us over going fishing instead of sitting in a hot class room doing stupid stuff like dissecting a frog or reading Shakespeare.

But now I am older and wiser and look at things a whole lot differently than I did some 40 years ago. I now can see the importance of going to school and learning how to do different things. I am also a parent to 5 of my own kids, and several children who have lived with us throughout the years.

My advice to the kids today is stay in school and learn all you can as you will be surprised how it may help you later on in life. Keep your grades up so that if you chose to go on to college your grades will not be the deciding factor in not getting accepted. Think ahead and try to figure out what you are going to be studying each day you go to school. That way if it looks like you're going to be dissecting frogs or reading Shakespeare it might be wise to bring a few hooks, some fishing line and something to make a pole out of. You see fishing is still more important than dissecting frogs or reading Shakespeare. See you next week!

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