Sometimes nostalgia strikes when you never thought it would. Maybe when you are eating your favorite ice cream, reading and old book, or perhaps when you are sitting at your daughter’s school attending a program in the cafeteria. It did for me, not only did I pass the gym and the office with a grimace, but the mere presence of the principal’s office and the coach standing outside of the lounge, was enough to bring those memories flooding through my mind.
As I sat in the school cafeteria at Choudrant Elementary, I was watching the rows of new inductees from the 6th grade class sitting in anxiously with their feet swinging rapidly underneath the chairs of the new 2012 National Junior Beta Club Members. The former members were sitting behind them staring in remembrance of the year before. I watched as Assistant Principal Ms. Debi Hauser was trying to keep her composure, while monitoring every entrance and exit in hopes, the event would go forth without any problems. As the other children began to march in the cafeteria to take their places; that’s when the nostalgia began, and the fact I didn’t attend this school, is what made me take it all in the most is what really got to me.
The parents had already arrived and taken their places on the three rows behind the reserved seating for the children. The seats that once seemed very comfortable were so small now. The cafeteria which once seemed a place of dread now seemed a place of anticipation as the adults appeared to be in a constant stare as they kept looking over their shoulders for one of the lunchroom ladies to open a steel container of that cold chocolate milk. The cinnamon rolls and the hot buttered yeast rolls were a treat if served at any time during school. However, as an adult, it almost appeared as if any grown-up present would have surely taken a defensive position if just one metal rack were to open in the cafeteria.
It didn’t take long for things to begin. I could see the nervousness of each and every child reading over their speeches and thought, “Does this nervousness occur each time?” “Does this nostalgia linger in your mind at every event, every swing of the bat, every swing of the golf club, every shoot of the pistol?” I started to think back at the many pageants Jess participated in as she was growing up. The two elective categories she chose to pursue were the talent category and the spokesperson category. She told me she was nervous every time and it didn’t matter how many times she went on stage. It made me think, at 15, 16 and 17-year-old having the courage to get up there and conquer that fear; and she stepped up and did just that. However, she had conquered many things in her life. Raised by one parent until she was six, diagnosed with a disability when she was seven that we were told would go into remission when she was 15; it didn’t then. It never did. She still struggles with it, but she doesn’t let it get her down. She works 20 hours a week; attends classes weekly; and is enrolled in a dance school and company where she takes classes weekly in ballet, pointe and poise.
I see many people going to work daily. Most of these people are those who wear smiles on their faces for everyone they meet. It is almost as if either way this person spreads positivity towards everyone. Other people wish they could catch a break? They wonder how it happens that these people, who seem to shine so bright; never lose their glow? They have truly been touched by something so positive. These other people are so strong they possess this “cloud over their heads effect” and they cannot find the real way to the top.
It is kind of like the Republican Election. When it first started, a number of contenders should I say, were at the top, dwindling down to a top seven candidates as the real person for the job. Now we have a lowly two front-runners waiting to see who will defeat Barack Obama in the November 2012 Presidential Primary.
I am not sure, but I do know how November 2012 will turn out, but I do know that I have seen some grimaces on the faces of two Republican contenders, but nothing but smiles from President Obama. Maybe he knows something we don’t. Maybe he is just enjoying the last few months in the White House. Maybe he is like my older daughter when she gave her speeches, won and smiled; or like my younger daughter when she was inducted into the Junior Beta Club and or maybe he is like others like her; maybe he just knows the tickle of a true winner, and always wears a smile.
Published December 29, 2011, Ruston Daily Leader, The Park Bench.