If the first day of the new year is any indication of how the rest of the year is going to turn out, it's going to be a bitter-sweet 2013 for me.
Spent the afternoon bowling with extended family. Now, that's something that occurs only once in a very long while 'cos as a group we prefer eating to physical activity. Seeing that the last time we did such a thing was conceivably a couple of decades ago, today we got a true sense of how far we've advanced in our years. Two games apiece and collectively we're creaking in the joints; muscles stretched and tender; stubbed toes and much wounded pride from the number of gutter balls thrown. Not that our scores were very much better twenty years ago, but still...
And like we did back then, we gathered to dine. But tonight's dinner conversation was more polite and focused. We didn't harass the staff like we managed to do before, and we actually got some talk going on a joint tribal vacation. That, we've never done before, but it's a lot more feasible now that we're all working adults with some kind of disposable income. The only question, then, is to coordinate the timing. Hold onto your hats, folks, it may yet happen!
The later part of the evening was more sombre. I've never been to a wake of a friend before, let alone a working colleague. Aggie (later known as Deb) battled cancer over the past couple of years. It finally ended just before the beginning of the new year.
With Aggie's passing, I've lost both my mentors from when I first started teaching. Mim went earlier via an untimely accident. Mim taught me the rules to obey while Aggie taught me to organize and colour-code everything, and something called a "CRAFT" book, which stands for "Can't Remember A F****** Thing" in which I was to write down everything I was supposed to remember but was likely to forget.
I appreciate the lessons these veterans imparted to me. They practiced what they preached. They were ready to teach; effective at their jobs; and their lessons stuck with their kids. They were loved; respected and unforgettable to their students. They were looked up to by their colleagues.
Yet every class has a black sheep (baa!), and this one knows the distance he still has to travel to get to where they left off.