• Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Meta

One Hour and Five DecadesTour

“You know what I remember most about this quad?” Kathy asked.  Last week, four college girlfriends and I stood in the middle of the Tennessee Tech quad, the grass rectangle in front of Derryberry Hall and surrounded by buildings built in the early to mid-1900s. 

            “Lines!” Kathy said. “Remember standing in lines to register for classes?”  We all laughed. 

When we were freshmen in 1965, to register for fall quarter classes we were given packets that included a list of class offerings, including time, location, and teacher, and our advisors ‘signed off’ on the classes we needed.  

            Then began the quest to get IBM cards for classes and that required walking from building to building and standing in line.  First, I chose non-major classes, especially English and History and the teachers determined my choice.  

            “But, remember when you’d have all the cards you needed for classes, except one, and that one required class was offered at a time you already had a class?”  JoAnn asked.  That meant walking across this quad, returning a class card, and hoping you could get into another class. 

            Registering for classes was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and it usually rained on registration day.  A day of frustration.  “But just think, if Blondie and T. D. hadn’t stood in a registration line they might never had met,” said Kathy. That chance meeting led to a wedding in 1968, and as trite as it is, they have lived happily ever after.

            Ted McWilliams, assistant director of admissions and our tour guide, laughed at our stories.  “You probably remember going to basketball games in Memorial Gym right in front of us?”

            Yes, and because every seat would be filled, some of us went early to save seats for friends.  But, we most remember the gym as where we attended concerts and Public Programs and danced. Concerts by The Lettermen, Neil Diamond, Sam and Dave, Ray Charles, The Boxtops – big names in the 1960s. 

            Public Programs was a required underclassmen hour-long class in the gym on Wednesdays beginning at 10:00.  Students were assigned seats, by alphabetical order, and to earn an A for 0.5 credit hours, we sat while a student worker took roll, noting empty seats.  During Public Programs, school announcements were made and someone, a visiting dignitary or a faculty member, gave a short talk. 

            In the spring of 1967, Husband, then Boyfriend, invited me to the ROTC Ball, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps formal dance.  He wore a rented tux and I wore a floor length blue satin dress and elbow-length white gloves as we slow danced under basketball goals.  

            “Let’s walk toward the new science building,” Ted said. My friends and I recalled chemistry lab classes in Foster Hall, which is no longer used, and English classes in Henderson Hall, where students still write papers and study Shakespeare. 

Ted led us on a one-mile tour, one-hour tour.  We five friends traveled more than five decades and didn’t stand in a single line.


College Friends are Lifelong Friends

As eighteen-year-olds from towns across Tennessee – Rockwood, Sparta, Nashville, Byrdstown, Jasper, Lawrenceburg – we came to Tennessee Technology University in 1965.  Seven coeds, two from one town.            

We lived on the top floor of Unit A dormitory.  Shared a hallway community bathroom, pink sponge hair rollers, poor boy sweaters, math homework, dictionaries, stories of the worst dates ever, and we swooned over Richard Burton’s pictures. 

            We practiced writing each other’s signatures, in case someone might be late returning to the dorm before it was locked each night: weeknight at 10:00 p.m., weekends at midnight. The sign-out and sign-in sheet was near the dorm front door, but one of us could distract the graduate student office worker while another signed the sheet. 

            We heated tomato soup in two-piece electric popcorn poppers – the only cooking appliances allowed.  But the bottom heating element heated a melted cheese sandwich when it was wrapped tightly in aluminumfoil.

We donned two-piece bathing suits, rubbed baby oil on our bodies, climbed out a dormer window, lay bedsheets on shingle roofing, and sunbathed.

            Typical dorm dress was baby doll pajamas.  Pajamas that could be hidden under knee length monogrammed London Fog rain coats, or knock-off London Fogs, and were acceptable attire to walk around the corner to the Midway Restaurant to get meat-and-three takeout suppers. This attire was also acceptable for an 8:00 Saturday morning class. 

            One of us dropped out of school to return home after her father’s death.  Two married while still students and lived across campus in married student housing; they brought home-baked cookies and cinnamon toast and stories of married life to the other four of us who lived in the dorm, two-by-two roommates. 

            We graduated. We hugged and promised to keep in touch. To write letters. To call, although phone calls were expensive and charged by the minute.  Within a few years, we’d all married, some living a short drive from each other, some in other countries.

            But we kept our promise.  We called to share news of jobs and babies and new homes.  For a time, we wrote a chain letter. When I received the seven-page letter, I read everyone else’s page, took out the page I’d written previously, wrote a new page, and mailed it to the friend who was to receive it next. 

            We wanted to celebrate our 40th birthdays together and five of us did.  To save money, we stayed in one hotel room that had a king bed and a pull-out couch bed and a commode that overflowed in the middle of the night.

            Since then, we’ve gathered most every year, usually all seven of us. One has told her children, “When I’m old and lose my mind, put me in a nursing home with my friends.  I’ll think I’m in the dorm and I’ll be happy.” 

            Last week five of us Sisterfriends spent three nights together here in Cookeville, and we toured the Tennessee Tech campus.  Memories flooded – fodder for another column.

May Brings Traditions

Just when life seems uncertain, May arrives and brings traditions, events that remind me that some things in life are certain.  I reach for the security of May traditions.

            I’ve written twelve Mother’s Day columns and have nothing new to share, but celebrating moms is a tradition to hold dear.  My mom made corsages of white flowers for both my grandmothers to wear in memory of their mothers, and Mom and I wore red flowers to honor our living moms when we went to church on the second Sunday in May. Because Mom honored her mom and mother-in-law, Dad made sure that my brother and I gave presents and showed Mom our appreciation and love. 

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Mother’s Day on May 9, 1914, and he asked Americans to give a public “thank you” to their mothers and all mothers.  For 110 years, we’ve celebrated Mother’s Day.

            Everyone knows someone who will don a cap and gown and be handed a diploma soon.  Across our country, 3.7 million high school students are expected to graduate.  Here in Putnam County’s public schools, more than 500 students will earn their diplomas – private schools and homeschool programs add to that number of graduates. 

            All graduates aren’t 18-years-old and attended school for thirteen years.  We honor kindergarteners and students who finish the highest grade in a school.  Many schools will hold 4th grade or 6th grade or 8th grade graduations, and academic programs, such as medical coding, hold spring graduations.  Colleges and universities, medical schools, and trade schools graduate students in May.

            The Boston Latin School, which opened in 1635, in Boston, Massachusetts was the first public high school that continues to graduate students.  Students have graduated for almost 400 years.

            The end of May brings Memorial Day.  Maybe only those of us who grew up in rural communities or who live near cemeteries where our ancestors are buried celebrate this day.          

As a child, I went with my grandparents and parents to place flowers on family members’ graves and I still do that – even leaving a silk rose for my great-grandparents, Elizabeth and David Rich, whom I never met, but heard Dad’s stories about them. 

The first Memorial Day was observed at Waterloo, New York, on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers.  Businesses closed and flags were flown at half-staff. During the late 1800s, communities across our country remembered those who had lost their lives during war.  After World War I, Memorial Day was established as a national holiday to honor those who had died in America’s wars.  

Some cemeteries set a day and time for decoration for families to gather and share ‘dinner on the ground.’ 

            According to Merriam-Webster, a tradition is an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action or belief.  We need traditions because they connect generations and keep us moving forward.  Celebrating Mother’s Day, graduations, and Memorial Day are traditions to cherish, promises that there are certainties in life.

Golf is a Good Walk

When Husband and his friend invited me and his friend’s wife to join them while they played golf for a few days, we quickly accepted.

“Wanna’ ride along and watch for balls?” Husband said and I knew he meant when he and his friend teed off, hitting the first shots for each hole, maybe, just maybe, the ball wouldn’t go exactly they expected and we wives might see where the balls landed.

I also knew my friend and I could sometimes ride in golf carts and we could sometimes walk along the fairways (the mowed grass areas between tees where golfers hit the first shot for each hole) to the greens (the well-manicured areas where the holes are) and we’d get in our steps for the day.  And, golf courses are perfect environments to take in Florida flora and fauna. 

            Husband and I spotted a turtle before he hit the first golf ball.  Using her hind legs, the turtle threw soft dirt under a landscape shrub and buried her rump into the ground.  Her head and front feet were extended and she didn’t move for several minutes. Then she wiggled out of position and kicked dirt and landscaping pine needles to cover where her body had been. 

            Did the turtle lay eggs?  Probably not, because she wasn’t in position long enough, and turtles dig to hide parts of their bodies underground for comfort or when they are bored.  This turtle ambled across a sidewalk, onto grass, and, at my last sighting, across a fairway.

             A lost ball led us near a marsh area, the rough (tall grasses and weeds.) Two ducklings, with bright orange bills and black eyes, circled with white, stood perfectly still until we were within an arm’s reach, then they waddled toward water.  Later, I identified these as black-bellied whistling ducks.

            We spotted blue herons, red-wing blackbirds, geese, northern cardinals, blue birds, egrets, woodpeckers, and pelicans.  A utility pole provided a safe place for a bird nest and an osprey’s head appeared looking down toward us.

            When I saw a young turtle riding on the back of an adult sized turtle in a pond, I wondered if the five-foot long alligator close to it was lying in wait for lunch.  

            I mistook a saltmarsh mallow, a shrub-like wildflower with pink trumpet-like blooms, for a hibiscus.  Several fairways were bordered by water (a golf hazard) covered with water-lilies, and for a time I was mesmerized by their beauty, forgetting my responsibility to search for golf balls.

            I did forget why I’d been invited to ride along on the A. C. Read Golf Course, located at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, because it was the Blue Angels practice day.  How could I watch golf balls while Boeing F/A 18 Super Hornets flew in tight formations overhead?

            It’s said that golf is a good walk spoiled, but golf is a good walk if you’re only watching for balls and take in all the outdoors has to offer.

Don’t Let Fear Make Life Small

When I read the book “In the Wild Light” by Jeff Zentner, I copied words Aunt Betsy said to her nephew Cash, “Fear tells you to make life small.  Don’t give it air to survive.”

            What encouraging words to a teenager to give up life in a small Appalachian town, and, with a close friend, accept the challenge to attend a big city elite prep school.  Cash lived with his grandparents who depended on him and while his friend excelled academically, Cash didn’t.

            Aunt Betsy continued, “You’ll never regret a decision more than one you make out of fear.”

Fear of a leaving the only home ever known.  Fear of leaving aging grandparents. Fear of being unsuccessful as a student.  Fear of moving to a completely different social and academic environment. Those are expected teen-age fears.

But the fear of being shot, and possibly dying, at school or a birthday party should never be children’s fears, nor should they fear that someone they love will be shot while at work. Yet, I think children are afraid because of recent mass shootings. They should never experience such fear.  Never.

As I write this column, the most recent mass shootings in our country were at a school, a bank, and a 16-year-old’s birthday party.

I know a young teenager who told her great-grandmother, “You know Mom (a teacher) and my sisters and I are at four different schools and Grandma works in a bank.  Now, I have to pray really hard every night for all of us.”

This child’s bedtime prayers are for her family members’ and her own safety, certainly not the prayers of a teenager a generation ago.

Last month, when the news broke of the deaths of three students and three adults at The Covenant School in Nashville, I felt great sadness and anger. Venting to a friend, I texted, “Why can just anyone buy an assault weapon? Will it take the death of a million innocent people, kids and adults, for laws to change?  Our state and country are a big mess.”

His response was that it’ll take changing politicians to change the laws, and it probably won’t happen in my generation’s lifetime.  I hope his timeline is wrong.

Has anyone else wondered where you’d take cover if shots were fired?  That thought went through my mind while enjoying a production of ‘Anastasia” at the Cookeville High School auditorium.  If I’m consciously squelching fear, what are our teen-agers feeling?

There must be change, not only laws for the sale of guns, but also in our understanding and treatment of mental illness.  I sympathize with the families of the shooters.  They must grieve and feel regret for not seeing warming signs to prevent tragedy.  I’m sad for them. 

Can we work together so that children and teenagers are safe?  I want their greatest fears to be the fears that the book character Cash felt when he struggled to make a decision. We can’t let fear make lives small.  

It’s Poetry Month!


Read any good poems lately?  April is National Poetry Month, first designated in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, and is the largest world-wide literary celebration. 

            Some of us first studied poetry as high school students. We memorized lines from Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and read Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” aloud in English class.

Memories of reciting, ‘Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary’ and reading ‘O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?’ might cause you to inhale quickly and deeply.

But you probably smile when you hear one of the most quoted poems:  Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.  Jane Taylor’s lullaby was first published in 1806. One of my Grands was surprised when she learned that Twinkle, Twinkle is a five-stanza poem.  “Read it again, Gran,” she said.  “Is it really more than 200 hundred years old?”

            Years ago, I began reading poetry to our Grands while we ate breakfast after they spent the night with Husband and me.  We read the traditional Mother Goose poems, but the favorites are Shel Silverstein’s poems.

            Silverstein’s first book, Where the Side Walk Ends, was published in 1974 and the copy that belongs to Daughter is literally falling apart and is still on my kitchen bookshelf.  The back inside cover lists poems we read often.  My favorite is Hug O’ War.

I will not play at tug o’ war,

I’d rather play at hug o’war,

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs,

Where everyone giggles

And rolls on the rug,

Where everyone kisses,

And everyone grins,

And everyone cuddles,

And everyone wins.

Micah, age 8, said, “Will you read the one about the king?”  I didn’t know a poem about a king, but Micah’s older sister, Annabel, searched until she found an ink drawing of a king.  “It’s Peanut Butter Sandwich.”       

“And the king eats peanut butter sandwiches!” said Micah.  Annabel read that the king’s mouth stuck quite tight from a last bite of a peanut-butter sandwich.  Neither a wizard, a dentist, a doc, a plumber, a carpenter, nor a fireman could unlock the king’s jaws.  For twenty years, they toiled until finally every man, woman, girl, and boy pulled and then ‘kerack,’ they broke through that sandwich. 

“Wait!” said Micah, “I know what he said: I want a peanut butter sandwich!”

Annabel grinned, then continued.  “The first words that they heard him speak were how about a peanut-butter sandwich?” 

Micah laughed and asked, “What’s the one about the boy who didn’t know about money?” That one is Smart.

My dad gave me one dollar bill

            Cause I’m his smartest son,

            And I swapped it for two shiny quarters

            Cause two is more than one!

            Micah and Annabel giggled all the way to the end as Smart trades quarters, dimes, nickels, and finally shows his dad 5 pennies. 

 Celebrate Poetry. Find a book.  Search online.  Read a poem.  Not just now – anytime.

Liar, Fiddler, and Storytellers

What if two of the nation’s best entertainers performed right here in Cookeville and you could get a ticket for only $25? 

One has performed in all 50 states, throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, at the Grand Ole Opry, the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.  Josh Goforth is a highly accomplished storyteller and acoustic musician who plays close to twenty different instruments.  

Goforth has won awards as a Master Fiddler and one of his albums was nominated for a Grammy.  He is currently a faculty member at the Academy for the Arts in Asheville and continues to perform all over the world.  

Another entertainer has won awards on stages reserved for only the best storytellers.  Bil Lepp is a storyteller, an author and a recording artist. 

            Maybe you’ve seen Lepp as the host of the History Channel’s Man Vs. History series or maybe you’ve read or listened to one of his 28 books, some that have won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award and the Public Library Association Award.  You may have even seen Lepp as the host of NPR’s internationally syndicated Mountain Stage. 

You might not be willing to pay $25 to hear both Goforth and Lepp perform, but how about $10? 

Lepp performs at corporate events and at every major storytelling festival around the country, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.   For those of us who yearn to attend the National Storytelling Festival held in Jonesborough, TN, in October each year, we can stay home to see and hear Lepp, a festival participant for the past nineteen years.

Did you know there’s a liar’s contest?  Lepp has won the West Virginia Liar’s Contest five times; some say it’s not easy to know when he’s telling the truth since he blends tall-tales and stories with nuggets of truth. 

Both Goforth and Lepp will be on the Cookeville Storyfest stage and you can easily get a ticket.  Just show up and bring your sense of humor and your appreciation for entertainment.  The cost is $0.

Yes, Storyfest is FREE!  It’s an all-day event on Saturday, May 6, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and is presented by the City of Cookeville Leisure Services Department.  Look for the big tent in Dogwood Park behind the Cookeville History Museum on East Broad Street.

Storyfest begins with two local storytellers: Dwight Henry, followed by Peggy Fragopoulos.   Along with these two seasoned storytellers, and professionals GoForth and Lepp, you’ll want to catch the Amateur Storytelling Competition.  Your friends and neighbors might be onstage.

Storyfest is a come-and-go event; stay as long as you want, which will probably be all day.  A detailed schedule is available at https://www.facebook.com/CookevilleStoryfest or call Beth Thompson at (931)528-8580 for information.

It’s said that Lepp is one of the funniest men ever heard and he’ll make you believe the wild stories he tells.  Josh Goforth mixes storytelling and fiddling.

 Storyfest is for all ages – anyone old enough to listen and young enough to laugh. Don’t miss it.  After all, it’s FREE and right here in our town.

Bunny Cake Tradition

“Gran, is it my turn to do the bunny cake face?” eight-year-old Micah asked. 

My first thought was that I’m happy my young Grand wants to continue the tradition of decorating an Easter cake. My oldest Grand, Samuel, now almost 18, first stood on a stool to reach the kitchen counter to decorate a bunny cake.

             The cake recipe and a picture come from my mom’s recipe collection, and a hand-written note read, “Easter – ‘78.”  My Grands’ mother was a toddler then so a bunny cake has been a long-time family tradition.

Imagine an 8” round cake layer as the bunny’s face and another cake layer cut to make the ears and a bow tie.  The picture shows jelly beans for the eyes and nose, threads of red licorice for whiskers and the mouth, gumdrops on the bow tie, and pink colored coconut on the ears.  

We gave up the coconut years ago because no child likes coconut – at least none I know. Through the years, jelly beans have replaced gum drops and no two cakes have looked the same.  One or two Grands can easily share decorating, but when three or four want to help, we determine which part of the cake each person decorates.

When I told Micah that I wasn’t sure who would decorate the bunny’s face, he said, “I did an ear last year and haven’t done the face in a long time.” Then his three older sisters chimed in.

“I think I did the other ear,” said Annabel.

“Annabel, didn’t you do the bow tie last year?  It was completely covered with jelly beans,” said Lucy.

“Was last year when Elsie made a Harry Potter face?”  Micah asked.

“Remember when someone made one eye high and the other one crying?  Who did that?”

“Do you think Samuel will help this year?”

“Did you get that red stuff for the whiskers?” I did. Finally, a question I could answer.

It was determined that no one knew for sure whose turn it is to decorate the face, the most important part of the cake, and that all four thought they might have done an ear, the least favorite, last year.  Someone ended the discussion when she said, “It’s okay, Gran, we’ll figure it out.”  (This year I’ll make a note of ears, bow tie, and face.)

Years ago, I didn’t know that Samuel and I were staring a tradition for his family.  I do know that the bunny cake has never looked exactly like the picture and each year’s cake depends on the whims of the decorators and how many jelly beans are available.

And I know this tradition is important. Traditions connect generations.  Traditions comfort.  Traditions offer stability.  Traditions make memories. Traditions create a sense of belonging.  

Decorating an Easter bunny cake is much more than fun and to have dessert for Easter Sunday dinner, it’s tradition.  I agree with a quote I recently read: Tradition is a very powerful force. 

March Madness

If watching television was limited, I’d use my year’s allotment from March to the first of April.  I might be addicted to March Madness; I’ve checked and rechecked the times and stations for both men’s and women’s NCAA games and for NIT games, while Vanderbilt University was playing.

            Like most basketball fans, my brackets have been busted – actually my men’s bracket is shattered and destroyed.  I’m disappointed my favorite teams lost (TTU women, Vandy men, and Tennessee men and women), but I pick a team for each and every game.

And I applaud good plays. “Wow, that was a great assist!” I said.  Husband responded, “I thought you were for the other team.”  A no-look pass between two defenders to an inside post player deserves praise. 

             Now, March Madness is down to the Final Four and I’m cheering for FAU men’s team and two women’s SEC teams: LSU and SC.  (I’m counting on SC to win Monday night, but my submission deadline for this column is before the game)

 It’s easy to pick FAU to win the championship. Not only is Florida Atlantic University the team that knocked out Tennessee, but it’s the underdog, a #9 team. And their mascot is Owlsley – a huge, blue-eyed, orange-eyebrowed owl.

While keeping up with March Madness, I’m also entertained by players’ pictures and coaches.

            Favorite player picture:  University of Tennessee player, Jonas Aidoo leaving Knoxville to travel to Orlando, Florida.  In his hands, he held things that should never be packed in a suitcase:  a tangerine, yellow Goldfish crackers, a bed pillow and a stuffed animal.  When I showed the picture to my 8-year-old Grand, he said, “Look, he has his stuffie, a giraffe!”  I nodded and Micah said, “I guess you’re never too old to have a stuffie.” 

Best-dressed:  Jerry Stackhouse, Vanderbilt University men’s coach.  He wore a coat, a tie, and a pocket handkerchief, that coordinated with his tie, at every game. “Stack” is an impeccable dresser.  The last Vandy game, his blue dress shirt featured front pleats and a white collar with rounded points.  A gold collar pin held his collar perfectly.   Sidenote: Vandy should have been included in the NCAA tournament.

Most flamboyantly dressed:  LSU coach, Kim Mulkey.  Coach Mulkey is known for wearing clothes that catch the eye, and the jackets she worn in the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games were two of her best.  Who else would wear a pink and white floral blazer with bright pink ostrich feather fringe running from shoulder to wrist on the jacket’s sleeves?  And I wondered if her silver glittery blazer distracted the opposing team players? 

This time next week, March Madness will be over.  Done. Finished.  But I’ll watch ‘til the end, even One Shining Moment.

NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association

NIT – National Invitational Tournament

March Madness – the annual NCAA college basketball tournament

SEC – South Eastern Conference

LSU – Louisiana State University

SC – South Carolina

For Children’s Sake, Drive Slowly


As I drove past Capshaw Elementary School, I glanced at the clock in my van:  2:14.  It wasn’t near 3:00, school dismissal time, so I wasn’t concerned about the lower speed limit that is enforced immediately before and the end of school days.

Children played on the playground and teachers gathered near a wooden bench.  As a former teacher, I have happy memories of those teacher conversations; recess is one of the few times during a school day that teachers can visit.  Four teachers stood in a circle, facing different directions to see the whole playground and monitor students, to be sure children were safe.  I recognized two friends.

            A city police car was parked in a street parking place, ready, I thought, for school dismissal. During my teacher days, I appreciated when police officers were present at the times when students were dropped off and picked up.  Just seeing a police car reminded drivers to slow down.  I waved to the policeman as I drove past.

            He waved back and turned on the blue lights on top of his car. I slowed for him to pass me, but he didn’t.  His car was on my bumper. 

            As I stopped in a parking place off the road, I wondered if there was something wrong with my van.  The policeman greeted me kindly, “Good afternoon, Ma’am. May I see your driver’s license?” 

            “Sure,” I said and handed it to him. “I hope your day is going well.”  He nodded and, holding my license, walked to his car.    

            I was surprised by his next words: “Mrs. Ray, you were going 28 in a school zone.  The posted limit is 15 MPH.”

            And then my experience as a teacher hit me.  Kindergarten students are dismissed at 2:00 p.m. so the school speed limit is enforced beginning at 1:45 p.m. My words rushed out.  “I’m so sorry.  I looked at my clock and because it wasn’t near 3:00, I didn’t think about the speed limit being lower now.  It’s because kindergarten students get out at 2:00, isn’t it?”

            The policemen repeated the posted speed limit, noted on a sign by a flashing yellow light, and he didn’t know about kindergarten students.  He looked stern.

             I knew exactly where that light was and I didn’t see it that day because I’d turned onto the street a half block after it. I wanted to whine, but I knew that wouldn’t help.  I said. “You know what makes this really embarrassing?  I taught at this school for more than twenty years.  I should’ve remembered.  I drive past here almost every day.  I’m so sorry I was going too fast and promise to be more careful.”

            I got no pity for being a teacher, but maybe it was my repeated regrets and promise that warranted only a verbal warning.  “Ma’am, you do that.  Be careful and slow down.”   

             Let my experience be you warning:  obey the speed limit and drive carefully. Especially near schools.