We went to Wing for a visit, staying at brother Harold's. Our kids were nine and five. Shortly after lunch, we noticed Corey, Kinley, and Ken, (about Corey's age and Harold's youngest) had just disappeared. We got to looking, and I finally discovered their trail headed down into the bottoms. My kids were city kids, and I knew they could get into a lot of trouble in the Wing bottoms. I started tracking them. They were headed toward the Little Lake. I ran fifty steps, walked fifty steps, a method I used as a youngster to cover a lot of ground in a hurry. When I got close to the Little Lake, the trail turned west. After five miles of trailing, I caught up with them. The boys were still slowly moving forward, but Kinley was wandering around in a road ditch, totally worn out. Barbara had put Harold, on his tractor, on my trail and he soon caught up. They were glad to give up their adventuring for that day.
Ken was always a gadget geek. He's a computer expert today. He had a new gadget that day, a lie detector. Kinley agreed to be his subject. First question: "Do you eat boogers?" Kinley was shocked. "No! I do not!" Ken studied the detector. He finally declared, "She's lying." Everybody had a good laugh, and Kinley refused to answer any more questions.
All this time, I was quietly teaching biology. All the excitement was in Barbara's court. I often took my classes around campus, studying the plants. I pointed out many edible ones. When they saw me eat one, they did too. One sharp youngster ran over to a row of tall plants. They already knew this one was edible, so everyone munched away. “Why are these so much taller here?” “That's because that's where the septic line runs.” Kids were spitting plants everywhere.
Like I said, my teaching life was pretty quiet now. I had to create some excitement where I could. Once, I had my class working on an assignment, and I quietly went around through another classroom to the outside. The younger kids were all sitting around or playing right outside my classroom door. I called them over and asked a small favor. Getting back to my class, my students were finishing up. I asked them, “Why do you guys not treat me like the younger kids do? They treat me like a rock star.” They giggled and rolled their eyes. Some gagged. I said, “Here, let me show you.” I walked to the door, opened it, and the kids outside all started jumping up and down and screaming. First, extreme shock, then more eyes rolled, lots of gagging When the bell rang, many left with a very puzzled look. Over the years, it has proven out that those fun moments are the ones that stick in their minds a long time. Too bad I could never make biological facts stick that well.
I had always thought, in the deep recesses of my mind, some day I will build my own house. Mostly by myself. I decided, this was the time. We borrowed twenty-five thousand dollars in 1978, and I set in. I didn't know how to build a house, but I knew how to use a saw and hammer. The rest I learned along the way. If I got to a point where I was stumped, I went and looked at other houses under construction, and just did like the big boys did. When I first started and was doing the dirt work, a friend said, “I don't know how you ever make any progress. Every time I come by, you're leaning on your shovel.” Actually, I was very busy thinking. Trying to figure out what to do next.
I was working on the master bathroom when Barbara and Kinley came over with the news. Elvis Presley had just died.
Every time I announce when my book, Spreading Wing, should be in, it's not. Christmas seems to be playing havoc with the publisher's schedule. As soon as I actually have my first order in hand, I will schedule the Book Launching at Wing. Bear with me! Thanks for reading!