Illustration by Bec Schrieber
Yesterday, Max and I were in Ames, picking up sandwiches after doing busy stuff. The shop sits right on a small pond where Canada (edited – it’s NOT Canadian) Geese spend a great deal of time. Across the pond is a putt-putt course. It was packed yesterday, but five or six children escaped the course and were on the bank of the pond, throwing rocks in attempts to hit the geese. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Who thinks that’s okay?
I yelled at Max to stop the car, got out and used my big ole, trained-to-project voice to tell those damned kids to get off my yard … no, I mean, I told them to stop throwing rocks at the geese. Was I the only person in that entire area who couldn’t believe what they were doing?
The geese had been making their way to the other side of the pond and out of the reach of the rocks, but wow, I was furious.
Now, we can have discussions on the vagaries of parental involvement with their children – on and on. We all know the arguments, we all have opinions. It really doesn’t do any of us any good to hash those things out again and again.
What made me laugh (and I found the chuckle in this … along with a story) was that when I got back, I told my sister that I had channeled my inner-Carol. She’s a fifth grade teacher who puts up with nothing from her students. They treat each other and her well or they hear about it. She tells me that the only time they really listen to her is when she teaches them how to be better people. They only half-listen when she’s trying to teach them normal curriculum, but when she’s on a tear about bad behavior, they are all ears.
Carol has made me nervous in the past. This is one part of Polly I took from her.
She’s the girl who saw a man brandish a tire iron to beat a young kid he accused of stealing. It happened in the parking lot of a bar across the street from where we were walking our dog. Carol took off – hollering and yelling at the man to stop. I didn’t want her to get involved – he had a tire iron! But she wasn’t having it. He complained that the kid had wronged him and she informed him in no uncertain terms that he could call the police, but beating a kid was wrong. And she stood there with her arms crossed in front of her until he let the kid go.
Then I breathed.
She stops people in parking lots who drop trash and shames them into picking it up and taking it to the trash can.
When she and my brother were in elementary school, this very timid little girl got tired of an older boy who bullied Jamie. One day she popped the boy on the head with a three ring binder (back when those were serious), and told him to leave her little brother alone. He did.
I’m glad she has a classroom of fifth-graders who take her attention these days. Hopefully that will use up her energy so she’s less apt to accost strangers for their bad behavior.
So … how about we all just quit with the bad behavior so I don’t have to worry about Carol sticking her nose in places that might get it smacked. Or at best, so I don’t have to intervene. It’s all good for Polly to do it in Bellingwood, but I’m not fond of it in the rest of the world.
Yeah – Polly told somebody off the other night as I was writing. This was before the whole Canadian geese / rock throwing incident. Maybe she stirred me up. Who knows?
Have you checked out some of the map / sketch files on the website?
My brother – Jamie McFarlane – writes sci fi and fantasy. If you want really great stories while waiting for the next Bellingwood book, you should check him out. If you’ve never read sci fi because you don’t think you’d like it, but have a niggling feeling you should try it anyway, read his Privateer Tales series (starting with Rookie Privateer). He writes great characters and great stories that just happen to be set in the future. Jamie is one of my favorite story tellers of all time. For a link to his website, click here.
Polly’s life is busy; there is so much going on. Publication of Book 22 is right on schedule – June 25th. And make sure you set aside Friday, June 15 for our next Trivia party. I can’t wait!