Brave New World

Since today is the first day of school, I was reflecting on the many first days of school I have had over the years. The feeling I get is the same one I get at New Year’s Eve when the countdown to the next year begins. There is excitement, expectation, a little nervousness, and delight. Every year, Rachel and I would get a fresh touch up at Johnson’s Barber and Beauty. I would lay my clothes out the night before. My trapper keeper had all the folders, paper and utensils in their rightful places. And of course every tab was color-coded and labeled. That night it would be so hard to sleep, because the next day was the start of a brand new year! Cereal, banana, apple juice and water for breakfast. Lunch packed. Bus 25 would be coming around the bend soon and we would be off to a new adventure. Richard was our bus driver. He was probably in his early to mid-50s. Wore a cowboy hat and boots to match, every day. And when it rained, he had a fancy hat cover that he wore over that hat. I used to think that Richard slept in that hat and it was permanently attached to his head. He was the kindest man. Good ole’ Richard. Since we were among the first to get on the bus, we sat towards the front. But on the way home, we were the last to be dropped off, and we sat towards the middle. I usually fell asleep and Rachel would nudge me to close my mouth and wake up. I never could. I had to sit towards the front in class too because of my poor vision. The teachers used to try to move me to the back because of my height. But my parents told me to hold my ground. I had to be able to see the board. I loved everything else about school. On the first day, the papers were crisp, the books and supplies were new, the teachers were cheerful, and students were on their best behavior. . . for now. I hope this year, with all the changes, that students and teachers are still able to have memorable first days. Cheers to all going in for the first time, or back for another round. Stay safe and healthy. Have a great year!

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