By Jim O'Leary
An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.
April 22, 2002
A radio talk show host recently said, "Where are the heroes of today? Too many people are looking for heroes in all the wrong places. Movie stars, rock musicians, athletes and models aren't heroes, they are celebrities. Heroes abound in public schools, a fact that doesn't always make the news.
"Consider Dave Sanders, the school teacher shot to death while trying to shield his students from two other students on a bombing and shooting rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
"Last year the average public school teacher spent $468 of his or her own money for student necessities - workbooks, pencils, and supplies - items children had to have, but could not afford.
"That's a lot of money from the pocket of the most poorly paid teachers in the industrial world. The average teacher works more hours in nine months than the average 40-hour employee does in a year.
"Visit your local schools and stop by the classrooms. Introduce yourself to the teachers . . . they're the heroes in today's world."
This is from a speech at a USA Conference in Wichita, Kan., and was recorded in the Fort Hayes State University Kappan newsletter.
Don't eat the apples!
I think Mrs. Perkins is one of those heroes.
Mrs. Perkins teaches third grade in Leadville, Colo. Her class had been studying fairy tales. They had watched Snow White this week during class. Their assignment was to write her a letter. Here are some samples:
"Dear Snow White,
Say hello to the seven dwarves for me. Tell old Grumpy to cheer up. I also wanted to warn you about the queen. I think you should run away from the queen. She is very mean. I hope you can get away from her and have a very, very good time."
From, Alicia Porter
Run away. And I hope that when the rock fell on the witch queen, she was totally dead. I am thinking you and the prince will get married."
From: Ashlan Caroline Hren
"You are nice and the queen is mean. The queen is not getting along well. I would like to say people are about to kill you so watch out."
"Stay away from the queen or you will die. Run from the queen or you will die. Don't eat anything that's someone gives you. Run away from the queen. Run to the Dwarf's house."
From Ryan Pacheco
"Der Miss White. Stay away from the queen. She might give you something poisanens. Stay whith the dwarfs and if the Queen comes run from her and you should prepare for trouble. She could hurt you anytime or she might put a spell on you anytime. So just look out! Make sure she doesn't play a trick on you."
From: Dominique Trujillo
"I think you should not eat apples and not go near the castle. I want to know how are the seven dwarves. Don't go far from the dwarfes."
"So I think you should run away from the queen. Be praperd for trouble and dont eat any apple that any old laddy gives you. You should ask for help from the dwarfs."
From Joseph Mascarenaz.
"Be carful because the Queen turned into an old lady. Not eat the apple. If you take a bite of the apple you will need to be kissed by a prince to come back to life. Be carful because the apple is poisoness."
Sincerly, Ryan A. Leverrett
"Dear Snow White. Say hello to the Seven dwarves for me. Don't go with the Queen. Don't go to the castle because she will deceived you and keep you in jail, for the ruest of your life. Don't eat unknown apples they can be poisonous and I hope you stay well."
From Cosme Cano
Kris Painschab, the son of Tom and Cheryl Painschab of Corpus Christi, Texas, was just elevated to Eagle Scout in a ceremony here last month attended by Mrs. Jeanne O'Leary and many other relatives and friends, including Kris' first cousin, Tim Painschab, who became an Eagle Scout last year.
Kris' Eagle Scout project was making shelving for a food bank for poor people, run by the First Baptist Church of Corpus Christi. Kris might become a carpenter now, but he can be anything he wants to be. He is a straight "A" student.
The lawn: a British legacy
God: "St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on there in the USA? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and stuff I started eons ago?
"I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought, and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds.
"I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now, but all I see are these green rectangles."
St. Francis: "It's the tribe that's settled there, Lord. The suburbanites. They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass."
God: "Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?"
St. Francis: "Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any plant that crops up in the lawn."
God: "The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the suburbanites happy."
St. Francis: "Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week."
God: "They cut it? Do they bale it like hay?"
St. Francis: "Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it into bags."
God: "They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?"
St. Francis: "No sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away."
God: "Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?"
St. Francis: "Yes sir."
God: "These suburbanites must be relieved in summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work."
St. Francis: "You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it."
God: "What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer.
In autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's the natural circle of life."
St. Francis: "You'd better sit down, Lord. The suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away."
God: "No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter, and to keep the soil moist and loose?"
St. Francis: "After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something, which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves."
God: "And where do they get the mulch?"
St. Francis: "They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch."
God: "Enough! I don't want to hear about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?"
St. Catherine: 'Dumb and Dumber,' Lord. It's a real stupid movie about . . ."
God: "Never mind. I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis."
Rt. 1 - Box 277A
De Kalb, Texas 75559
Side note. Mr. Shumake owns property on the Sulphur River bottoms, and is a very active and vocal environmentalist.
He's a Vietnam veteran and a major in the National Guard. (He was an enlisted man during the war, though offered a battlefield promotion.
Max was too modest to tell me any of this over the phone when I asked his permission to print this, but close friends of ours in Texarkana, Dr. James W. and Fran Presley, are friends of Mr. Shumake and they told me about him.
Dr. Presley had sent me Max's piece on God and St. Francis. The Presleys are the people who, more than anyone else, educated us about the environment when we lived in Texarkana.
The environment, as you know, is in danger right now like never before. The Presleys and Max are working together to prevent further degradation and waste, most especially of our water supply.
Please keep sending me news, weather, and sports. My readers need to hear from you.
Corpus Christi, TX
(Nut calls are especially welcome.)
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