This chapter is from right before Christmas Break of Jack Woodson's first year.
I’m sorry sir, but I refuse to fill in your “adult-themed” Mad Libs. I’ll give you a verb or a place name, but the slots are not supposed to be labeled “body parts that rhyme with rubies.”
Unless I’m mistaken, we have something in common – we both have some time off coming! You still have to work next week, but the plant still shuts down between Christmas and New Year’s, right? That hasn’t changed, has it? First day of school in the new year is January 6th, so all of my little Whos will have a nice two-week break in which to forget everything they’ve learned so far.
Today was fun, with a tint of sadness. The sad part is that today was Ariel’s last day here. She and her family are moving to some small town I’ve never heard of, about two hours east of here. As I’m sure I’ve told you before, Ariel is one of my favorite students, and I am really going to miss her.
But as I said, the day was fun, because we did Christmas activities. Mrs. Swanson made ornaments with the class over in her room. They were little construction paper cutouts with glitter and a picture of the kid glued to them. They even made one for me. My tree can be complete now!
Meanwhile, I made stockings (or attempted to make stockings) in my room. Each child cut a couple of stocking shapes out of brown paper lunch sacks using templates I made last night. Then they punched holes along the edges and used red yarn to hold them together. Sounds easy, right. Well, it WAS easy – up until the point when we actually began.
By the time the day was done, a few of the kids had beautiful stockings and were decorating them with crayons and stickers. Kari, Xander, and Maria all had stockings that looked fantastic. Others had tried to punch holes in their two cutouts separately, and the holes weren’t lining up. And then there was Plakton, who was still trying to figure out how to use the scissors. Don’t worry, I kept a close watch to make sure he didn’t poke himself in the eye with them.
My own big problem was with the yarn. I will freely admit that I use yarn about as frequently as I use hair extensions – not often – so I had a rough time. I would start pulling on a strand and get it a ways out, but then it would start knotting up, and I was stuck untangling knots for much of the day. A couple of times, I had to send a kid with the skein over to Mrs. Swanson’s room, and she would send it back straightened out (the yarn, not the student).
I even had my own little Tiny Tim moment. I got a Santa hat from one of the teachers (my Secret Santa) earlier in the week, and I wore it for most of today. When I put it on with 3F, Marvin exclaimed, “Yay! Mr. Woodson is cool now!” Did you catch that? Marvin finally thinks I’m cool –not quite the same as throwing away crutches and walking, but a Christmas miracle all the same.
Some of the kids even brought me gifts. Not one hundred dollar bills, as I had hoped for, but sweet gestures nonetheless. Kari and Susan gave me candy with decorative holders, Juan gave me a nice little picture frame, and Alex gave me a card. I think at some point Thomson may have even given me the finger.
Well, in case I don’t see you before then, have a very merry Christmas. Tell all the good gentiles there the same from me. Oh, and feel free to drop by on the 23rd. We’ll be having our annual “Good Ol’ Fashion Woodson Family Christmas Movie Marathon.” ™ This is the night we watch as many Christmas-themed movies as we can stomach. We always watch It’s a Wonderful Life, Scrooged, and Christmas Vacation; the others are rotated in and out. Round about 3 or 4 AM, when everyone else is passed out on the floor, my brother and I usually put up Die Hard. Hey, it’s a Christmas movie!
Ho ho ho! (Now I have a machine gun)
Good King Wenceslaus