Most days take off running. The Troublemint Twins don’t like to let trouble get too far from their grasp. However, T-1 was laid up a good part of the week, and T-2 was concentrating on getting more cattails. Comatose I didn’t expect.
The problem on the board read “7 X 72 =”
The two answers I received were “63.” and “Nu-uh! 144.”
Now these two boys can do mental computation in their sleep. My response was a careful, modulated, gentle, “teacherly” suggestion.
“You two need me to take you out to Pinelake and dunk your heads a couple dozen times to see if we can wake up your remaining video-game fried neurons?”
Pinelake was on our side of the road, at the end of the parking lot. It was really an overgrown pond, and rumor had it that eventually there would be real, live dunking-type baptisms going on there- the symbols and a sign without a substance type.
We’re polite in Mississippi.
“How in tarnation did you boys come up with those numbers?”
“Not by my teaching you didn’t. Whose class you two been sneaking into? I’m fixin’ to take both of you out and dunk you.”
These two are on their third year with me, poor souls. One started in the Second, the other the First Grade. They are now taking Fourth Grade Math and Grammar together. The younger one is a wiz at Latin, the older seems to have a talent for descriptive writing.
Eventually we settled the Math issue with the two rolling their eyes at each other and offering to go dunk themselves.
We are also gracious in our humility.
By now the First Graders were in a state of expectant giddiness with me poking such fun at the older boys and them being caught in a rare situation of demonstrated ignorance.
It has been a glorious Fall, although rough on the azaleas because they favor more moisture than we’ve had. We’ve had no rain since Katrina. The boys gully-leaped and discovered gopher holes, raccoon and deer tracks. The younger of the older boys found a mussel shell- both halves. The biggest prize was finding a stand of horsetails. They each wanted one, and it was proudly carried up high back inside the school.
Not for long.
The oldest one suddenly connected horsetail with his tail. He pulled his grey sweatshirt up to his head, letting the sleeves fall down as long ears. Getting down on all fours with the herbaceous specimen between his hindquarters, he began kick and bray back to class. The others followed suit.
Yup. In Mississippi we know what’s what.