My school is placed in the middle of an old, old neighborhood – a place where many of the homes are 100+ years old and have been in the same families for generations. It is not a wealthy neighborhood and among the homes are low-rent apartments and projects.
I do not park on the teacher side of the school. My classroom is on the other side and the time clock is on my side, so there is no call for me to park on the far side of the building. My side faces a row of homes, close together and owned by older, retired owners.
Parking on my side is a hot commodity. It’s one strip, of about 30 spots, that includes assigned parking for administration and office staff, Campus Police (who was in my room Wednesday morning, but I talk about that on another post) kitchen staff and open spots for parents who have their kids in the before/after school program. Many times, I can’t find parking up close to my door, and end up parking way down the lot and in front of a certainly elderly man who sits on his porch in his rocking chair and watches the school and the playground all day. I’m told he is a retired police officer, a special and very beloved retired police officer. I grew into a habit of waving to him every afternoon as I left. When Hurricane Michael came through, as I waved, he yelled – Now, you take your boy and go somewhere safe, sweetheart.
I mused on this as I went home. He is always on that porch, always in that rocking chair. I never see anyone else. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anyone else. But… I can’t imagine living my golden years, sitting on a front porch, in any weather, and staring at a school and watching the playground and those who come and go, day in and day out.
This week, I’ve managed to park on the upper end of the lot. And it’s nice and close, but I’ve missed waving good night to my friend. As I left and went to my car, and looking down at his home, I notice this white fuzzy head of hair, leaning past the post and looking my way. It poked out several times and I decided, it was time to go down that way to leave and wave.
And there were 2 huge grins as I drove into the sun. Tomorrow, I’m making a Dutch Oven bread and if it turns out good, I’ll make another one and take it to him and introduce myself. I think I’ll plan some talk time because my dad told me many times that when someone older talks to you, you listen because you’ll learn something, even if it’s something you won’t realize you learned for years.
Oh and by the way, that was my deep thought for the year.