There is No Middle Ground

I’m sitting in skybox 306 in the BOK center and the Broken Arrow band is playing Pomp and Circumstance as 1,137 Broken Arrow Seniors stream down eight aisles like ants who have discovered a donut on the sidewalk. This isn’t anything like my graduation except it was also in a gymnasium, where I sat by Howard who leaned over and said, “Tata bud, I’ve gotta pee like a race horse,” while Lt. Governor George Nigh talked about Pink Floyd as if he knew a thing or two about popular music and social upheaval. No, this graduation is different. There are … Continue reading There is No Middle Ground

Limestone School part 6 walking home

As John Welch’s arm exploded through the safety glass just above the brass push bar he realized the race had been won and the battle lost. Our third and fourth grade classes routinely made the sixty yard sprint across the playground from the north wing to the south wing of Limestone School rewarding the win, place and show runners with the spoils of being first in line for lunch. We had no grand illusions of gourmet meals. Our goals were attuned to completing lunch quickly and excusing ourselves to the asphalt playground to maximize our time playing workup-style kickball, foursquare … Continue reading Limestone School part 6 walking home

Limestone School part 4 sliding candy and crooked forks

Brach’s hard candy slid across the gleaming tile floors of the main hall at Limestone school like tiny hockey pucks propelled by the hand of Rusty the janitor who kept the cinnamon, butterscotch and peppermint treats in a coffee can in his supply closet. The pine scent floor polish and a strict discipline of machine buffing created a brilliant sheen enhancing the illusion that the candies in cellophane wrappers accelerated as they neared our greedy hands at the ends of the hallway north and south, where stairs descended to intersect another hallway running east and west at each end of … Continue reading Limestone School part 4 sliding candy and crooked forks

Limestone school part 3 a time to tear down and a time to build

When they tore down the limestone walls of my grade school in 2008 part of me came tumbling down into the Oklahoma dust. It was the part of my childhood that soaked into my pores through simple exposure to the cold hard stone, the sheer structural mass of those Limestone walls, along with the soft warm hearts of those who taught me grace and patience mentoring and teaching me for seven years. Through the dust and debris of the demolition I’ve recognized that both areas in my life, the hard law of truth standing sure like those stone walls, and … Continue reading Limestone school part 3 a time to tear down and a time to build

Limestone School part 2 paying attention to things we love

My 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Karbosky, brought a new element of deportment into my informal midwestern upbringing, an air of dignified carriage replete with reading glasses strung around the neck with a silver chain and an erect and sometimes stiff posture. It was my first brush with the imagined upper class whom I’d never met personally but had read about in books like the Great Gatsby. I didn’t know if Mrs. K had any money but was sure that the rich folk acted like her. My stern opinion of her softened one early spring day in 1969 shortly after my … Continue reading Limestone School part 2 paying attention to things we love

Newtown

December 24, 2012 On December 14th, I wept for twenty six souls in Newtown, Connecticut. The despair I felt was a sense that we’ve lost control as a nation, abandoned universal morality for individual amorality. Have faith, hope and love, ancient words from ancient texts, devolved into hollow shells of confectionary meaninglessness? And then I remember that even those who trust in the ancient words of holy scripture find a sense of hopelessness embedded in the words of Ecclesiastes. “I saw the tears of the oppressed-and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors-and they have … Continue reading Newtown

Limestone School part 1 red tab levis and open mouth wonder

I was five years old as I headed across the undulating back lawns along the west side of Mission road headed to my kindergarten class at Limestone school. The smothering late August Oklahoma heat of 1964 dictated my dress, white riveted red-tab Levi’s and a red mock v-neck shirt. My head was shaved tight and I was fearfully instilled with a dread of barking dogs that lived along the east side of Mission road and so my route circumvented my worst fears as I made my way to the Nowata road school crossing. I would later take a more direct … Continue reading Limestone School part 1 red tab levis and open mouth wonder