Thursday, February 2, 2012

a dash of this; a dab of that

My week has been a bit of this and that. So this post is going to be the same.

Our winter has been extremely mild - almost non-existent. Wednesday started with beautiful sunshine, but it was hot and humid. I am stay hot. Every Wednesday the teachers on my campus wear our matching t-shirts. It's usually such a comfortable day. T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. For the last few weeks, I've worn a long sleeves t-shirt under my teacher shirt. I did the same this week, but by 10:00 I had to go to the bathroom and strip out of the long sleeved shirt. I had broken into a full blown, middle of August sweat. That humidity was killing me. Later in the day a storm blew in, and the temp dropped very quickly. There was a beautiful rainbow that I watched all the way home. I wanted to stop and get a picture, but I didn't have my camera. And I knew that if I could make it home in time, I would have a great view of it.

And I did have a great view. I just couldn't get a good picture. But in trying to get the picture, I noticed just how green things were looking in the pasture. And the frogs were just a singing. They have been for the last couple of weeks. Spring is trying so hard.

I never could get a rainbow picture.

But I turned to the other side of the field at the perfect time to see the sun peeping through the trees for one last hurrah. I've seen some beautiful pictures of the rainbow that day. And I saw it at times where the colors were so vivid. But this flash of sunset was my favorite part of the day.

Today a guest speaker came to visit with my 7th graders. He was born in Holland during the Nazi occupation and is the grandfather of one of my students. He wore wooden shoes, a traditional fisherman's cap, and caught my students off guard by speaking Dutch for the first few minutes of his presentation.

He explained why the people in Holland wear wooden shoes. And the differences in all of the shoes he brought. Students passed these around - everyone wanted to hold the biggest and the smallest.

He showed us pictures of Amsterdam. The house he lived in there. He explained the windmills. He discussed the canals throughout the city. He told about his aunt who was taken to Germany to work in a hospital there and of her dying when the hospital was bombed by allied forces. He spoke of the dikes that keep the city dry and of how the Dutch people purposefully flooded the city to defeat the Spaniards. Then of how hundreds of years later, the people of Holland called in the British Royal Air Force to bomb those same dikes and flood the tanks of the enemy.

We listened to a story of two young brothers who were sent to the country to bring back potatoes from a relatives farm. But encountered German soldiers, and only one brother made it home. But in such a horrific story, he reminded us of hope when he told of another German soldier who put down his rifle and risked his life to get the boy and his burden home.

When we read of the Holocaust this year, my students will have background knowledge that I would have never been able to give them. It's going to be so hard for me to finish the unit we are in without rushing.

How thankful I am for a momma in the 1940's who demanded the doctor admit her infant son into the war-torn hospital which couldn't guarantee proper medical attention, and that son who grew into a man and wanted to come to the land of milk-and-honey where money grew on trees, and fathered a daughter who married a man, then mothered a daughter who quietly spoke up and said, "My pappaw  would probably come for a visit - he likes to talk."

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