Thursday, May 26, 2016
In town, a black sedan pulled up to a wood frame house with five steps leading up to a wrap-around porch. The weather-worn sign outside of town read Anywhere, USA.
“We’re here, sir.”
Someone stepped out of the car and walked towards the house carrying a cage covered with a towel.
He sat it on the porch near the front door.
Then they drove off and left town the same way they came in.
Inside the house that Friday evening, Jerry Tibbett’s giggled as seven boys from his fifth-grade class sang Happy Birthday. After opening presents, eating ice cream and cake, and playing games, parents came to taxi their child home.
One parent handed Jerry the cage. “Happy Birthday, found this by the door.”
Jerry took the cage and pulled off the cover. Everyone gasped and Jerry held the cage at arm’s length.
“It’s a serpent, or something,” somebody said.
“Get it out of the house.” Jerry’s Mom Jane ordered.
“Don’t argue, get it out of here.”
Jerry knew how to respond to that tone of voice; he obeyed.
Eating lunch the next day Jane told her men-folk she googled serpents but didn’t get any factual information because they’re mythical creatures. Putting potatoes on Jerry’s plate she said, “I’m going to feed it tree leaves, flowers, and grass. I hope it’s not a flesh-eater, like mine.
“Also, Monday, I’ll call area zoos to see if one of them will take it.
Jerry, using his favorite heart-melting blubber, pleaded, “I want to keep it. I’m going to name it Tiny.
“Tiny?” Smiling, his Dad laid down his fork. “Do you know how big Tiny might get if it has prehistoric or legendary genes?”
After lunch Jerry went outdoors and uncovered Tiny’s cage. Its black eyes glared into Jerry’s innocence. It looked like it wanted out.
That evening he stayed awake until his parents went to bed. Waiting another half hour he put on his shoes, tiptoed to their door and listened. He heard no one talking so he went outside to Tiny’s cage.
He carried it across the alley to the empty house Blowers used to live in. Opening the side door of the garage he put the cage inside.
Back in his bed he pulled the sheet over his head and wondered what would happen next.
Early Sunday Jerry hopped out of bed and went outside. Rushing back into the house he shouted,
“Dad, Mom,” Tinys gone.
“Whaddya mean Tinys gone?” the retort came from the bedroom.
“Tiny, his cage, his cover, it’s all gone.”
“How could that be?” came voices from within trailing robes as they ran from their bedroom.
Outside, they scoured the yard for Tiny.
“We’re gonna have to skip church and look for that stupid creature,” his Dad said.
Hurriedly they dressed and went on a serpent hunt; later, they returned home without Tiny.
His parents walked toward the house, but Jerry said he wanted to stay outside. When they disappeared through the backdoor he deadheaded across the alley to Blower’s garage. He pulled back the cover on the cage and couldn’t believe his eyes. Tiny had grown.
He’d just got back in his yard when his Dad called for him to come into the house. His parents wanted to know if he’d forgotten to tell them anything about Tiny’s disappearance.
Jerry said he’d told them everything.
“Ok,” his Dad’s said. “We just wondered.”
Jerry went back outside and to the empty garage. He opened the door and saw Tiny’s cage had split open. A huge Tiny hissed at him.
Jerry screamed and ran across the alley to his house. He burst in the back door crying “Dad, Mom, I’m sorry I lied to you. I just didn’t want to lose Tiny.”
Every detail of the story poured out, Jerry didn’t miss one. He cleaned his soul.
“Oh,” his Dad said, “you hadn’t forgotten anything. Let’s go see him.”
“No, he’s huge and I’m scared”
“I think we’ll be ok,” his Dad said.
Hand in hand the three of them walked across the alley and opened the garage door.
Jerry tried to pull back but they wouldn’t let go of his hands.
“Take a look, Jerry.”
Jerry looked inside. Tiny lay docile in the cage.
“Son, when we sin we let Satan creep into our lives; he’s huge and controls us. But when we repent he loses his power and we’re once again safe in God’s hands.”
Monday, May 23, 2016
Just as I’m running out of accolades, Bayard’s Public Schools stamped a period on its musical stage exhibitions for the 2015-16 school year. The Jr. High Choir, Magic Rhythm, and the 21st Century
Singers entertained their audience to a performance sprinkled with the seeds of Broadway.
While musicians injected intensity into those groups, those groups injected intensity into the musicians. The result: Together, they injected intensity into a performance that spellbound us Homo sapiens that braved the outside elements to fill seats in the auditorium.
The spectacle meshed hearts, minds, and souls with blues and rhythm, and a moving display of harmonious artistry that concluded with the Star Spangled Banner.
Packages of talent were unwrapped to reveal what lay underneath.
The audience felt a melodic bond, camaraderie, and a oneness with what made a barren stage come alive.
The spotlight sometimes shone on the seniors who were making their final appearance as part of the 21st Century Singers. They leave holes to fill; Bayard thanks them for sharing their special gift with us.
As for the rest of you, over the summer, practice your do, re, mi’s, or whatever they are, along with those things you blow into to make sounds, or beat on for the rat a tat syndrome. Bayard looks forward to watching and listening to you next year. Thanks.
One day I suggested to Principle Thomas Perlinski I’d like to write an article about the procedure of closing BPS for the summer.
As his mind tried to sort through what I’d asked, he thought out loud. “Things have changed since you were in school, Hugh, now, we never shut down. The activities may change, but the doors open each weekday, just like always.”
“Really?” was my well-thought-out response. “When I graduated 50 + years ago, except for janitorial crews, the school basically shuttered the windows during the summer.”
Mr. Perlinski said there’s some similarity as far as the extra work janitorial crews do, but now crews complain there’s so much activity going on around them they can’t get anything done.
“So, really, there are no similarities.”
To prove his point, he brought along Principal Matthew McLaughlin, from the grade school, to help him summarize how the school prepares for summer activities.
Mr. Perlinski began, “Of course, the schools change of venue begins before the end of second semester. Students check in books and computer equipment, or anything else they may have that belongs to the school.”
He said teachers often meet with students, both individually, or as a class, to encourage them for the summer. Teachers may suggest a student read, or go online, to improve their understanding about a specific subject.
Some teachers may teach summer school as BHS offers classes for high school students who need to improve their grade point average, if they want to graduate.
“It’s important for both teachers and students to start summer vacation with positive thoughts about Bayard’s Schools, and the opportunity for them to prepare for next year.
“It’s a busy time. All papers need graded and final grades determined, teacher’s complete inventories of supplies in their classrooms, and year end reports are due.
Also, on the last day of school, BPS has a lunch to say goodbye to all teachers that are going to another school, or retiring.
“Then,” Mr. Perlinski said, “for whatever reason many kids don’t eat nutritious meals at home. Through a grant, though, we’re able to provide free breakfasts and lunches for anyone under 18, whether they live in Bayard or not.
“Breakfasts are from 7 to 9, and lunch is 11:30 to 12:30. Breakfast is served in the grade schools All Purpose room, and lunch is served under the awning on the front of the building; the meals meet government nutritional standards.”
Other than the obvious benefit, the meals give BPS an opportunity to get involved with the community.
When his turn came, Mr. McLaughlin said preparing for summer at the grade school involves a lot of preparatory work, along with normal activities.
“Our teachers have the same end of semester and end of year work as do the high school teachers.
“Plus, some teachers help with the orientation of 6th through 9th grade students.
“They talk to these students about preparing for the rigors of high school, and preparing for their post secondary education and transition into adulthood.
“At the other end of the spectrum we have kindergarten round-up. On that day future students meet their soon-to-be-teachers and tour their classroom and the lunchroom.”
Mr. McLaughlin said pre-school and kindergarten teachers talk to parents about ways to prepare their child for the independence they’ll experience in school, because independence directly affects a child’s ability to learn.
Teachers also suggest parents involve their children in the summer reading program through Bayard’s City Library.
“Moreover, we must prepare for a summer of Pathfinders,” he went on. “Bayard’s parents have embraced the program and we do our best to meet their expectations.”
Finally, both administrators agreed saying goodbye to teachers and students is the toughest part of the end of the school year. Moreover, they also admitted that now they begin to realize how emotionally tired they are.
Before the fall semester, though, they look forward to the five weeks of no dictated responsibilities that they’ll enjoy.
If anyone in Bayard-land sees a teacher, or administrator, thank them for their commitment, it’s dedicated to teaching Bayard’s children.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Sun block flowed and canvas chairs, most with attached umbrellas, dotted the area around the track; the scenario: A made-to-order-spring day for last Thursday’s District Track Meet, in Grant, Nebraska.
Pacing didn’t calm the nerves of Bayard’s athlete’s; nerves rubbed raw from a season of one-on-one competition. They glared at the mini-horde of other competitors who dared to think they could snatch their goal away from them.
They were but two events away from their visualization. Only the prelims and finals were left to achieve their personal season-long challenge.
Would their prowess in a particular event propel them to the humidity-scarred track utopia they wanted to invade, in Omaha, Ne? A place to where they’d have to travel some 450 miles on a modern-day version of the Oregon Trail.
The time to compete arrived and each snarling Tiger, garbed in black and orange shorts and pullover, took their place in a position where they felt at home. There they waited their turn on a particular field of competition.
It came, and Jessi Smith, Joe Ferrero, Jacob Hoff, and Bryce Burry met their personal challenge and will carry Bayard’s banner to the State Track Meet. Mitch McKibbon is the wildcard in the mix.
Still, this story has a special sub-chapter:
After each of those specific events, tucked away on the southeast corner of that Perkins County track, sporting the spirit of Bayard’s Tiger-mothers, a group of proud matriarchs unashamedly hugged each other with tears carving furrows through their sunscreen-coated faces.
The congestion grew as the homing device that lies deep within the heart of a mother sent out maternal-Tiger-signals to other Bayard mothers in the area. There, in unfamiliar surroundings, they shared mother-vibes that only touched those with similar hearts.
In some cases no words were spoken, they each understood.
That’s the way it is in Bayard-land. The doors to our hearts are like the doors to our houses and cars, they’re unlocked and all Tiger-kin are welcome. Come right on in.
Good luck Tigers, swing your tail to brush away the stench that congregates in the east, and you’ll see your way clear to compete as the champions you are. But, win, lose, or draw, rest assured your pride will be here for you when you return.
Take plenty of tissues, though, your mother may need them.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Besides the good music that resonates from the stage, another consistent witnessed at BPS music concerts is pleasure. To me, the pleasures of music controlled the 2016 Grade School Concert.
From the north wing of the stage, carrying their instruments, the grade school students filed onto the stage. They sported grins that exposed two rows of pearly white teeth within moving jaws.
They sat in respective sections with their attention riveted on the person up front. With no flair of propriety, Mr. Babic trotted to his position sporting his baton and ever-present smile. Facing his protégés he exchanged private pleasantries with them, and they responded with giggles.
Because of the giggles all tension caused by stage lights, and the audience, vanished.
Then the band brought to life staid notes strategically placed on a piece of paper. When the grade school bands completed their exhibitions of proficiency, they exited the stage with the same smiles and exuberance with which they entered.
By the same token, Mr. Babic trotted off the stage with his engaging grin.
Applause seemed like a small token of appreciation, but to rush the field of play is a sport thing. So the jam-packed auditorium just sat and clapped, or whistled, their delight.
Exhibiting the same vitality, students exchanged chairs and music stands for a riser. Once again they filed from a wing of the stage to fill it. Then, with a quick gait and radiant smile, Mrs. Babic appeared and became commander-in-chief of those on the riser.
Fronting it, with movements and lips in sync with the students, the Babic’s coached the youngsters through their routines; their smiles a vote of confidence.
As a result the students lost consciousness within their leaders, the moment, the stage lights, and what had been programmed into their psyche of rhythm, and they simply performed.
The quality of the performance enthralled the packed auditorium. It gave Bayard residents the experience they’ve learned to expect from these concerts. Along with the smiles, we thank all concerned for the encounter.