I Really Miss My Dad At Christmas

Mamacita say: I really miss my dad at Christmas. I miss how he would lie on the floor under the tree just looking at its beauty and wonder. I miss how he would pick up and shake every package and guess what it was, and he was usually right. I miss how he would pretend to be so surprised when he opened a present from little-children-us, which added to the excitement of Christmas. I miss how he took the tree out in the back yard and hammered together a huge wooden stand that wouldn’t let the tree fall over if a child happened to pull at an ornament. There is a role of wrapping paper I still have that I wrapped his gift in, that last Christmas. I will never part with it. I miss how he would read “A Christmas Carol” to us and explain all the customs and traditions and some of the big words to us – Dad was a wonderful reader. Thanks to Dad, I’ve known what a doornail was since before kindergarten, and how if Marley was dead as a doornail, boy howdy he was really dead. I still remember every single poem, song, and explanation he made. Whenever I read or hear a poem by Robert Frost, I think of my dad, and his voice explaining whose woods those were and why the man stopped there. I miss the sound of his hushed voice on Christmas Eve, late at night, as he examined the toys from Santa that he and Mom were placing around the tree for the two younger siblings after we had all gone to bed. Dad was a man who loved Christmas. Which is partly why I love Christmas. It brings my father back to me, just for a little while. I can close my eyes and see him there, by the glowing tree, like a child himself, loving it all. I really miss my dad at Christmas.

The Battle Between Good and Evil

Mamacita says: Life on earth has always been a battle between good and evil, no matter how much we like to believe there’s a grey area in between.

For the past four years, Americans have been subject to the rule of evil, and we’ve had to watch helplessly as people we loved and respected crawled out from under their rocks and supported adultery, harassment, lies, disrespect, selfishness, childishness, entitlement, mockery, smirking, soft porn, and disregard for others to a degree never before imagined by people who were even a little bit good. Nobody is perfect, but in January, we will no longer have a very, VERY hellishly flawed bloated baby-“man,” a porn actress, a mommy’s boy sycophant, and Mommy Herself, a woman too pathetic and paranoid to allow her husband to sit in a meeting with another woman, in the White House.

We will have not merely a breath, but a regular gust of fresh air, still flawed but not hellishly so: an educated, literate, kind actual gentleman, his educated, literate, kind First Lady who is actually a lady, their educated, literate VP, and the VP’s husband who is proud of his wife, trusts her judgment, and is unafraid of anyone, male or female, that the VP might need to meet with. all of whom understand how our government is supposed to work, and who won’t surround themselves with needy, feeble-minded family members, suck-ups. and people who will need to be professionally pardoned in order to stay out of prison.

For four years, I’ve had a hard time understanding how God could have allowed these people to be elected, and I’ve grieved that there were really this many clueless people in our nation who shared the values that have filled the White House while pretending to be Christian even though their idol was the very opposite of any kind of religious values.

Sam Levinson’s mother used to say, “You can’t sit at two weddings with one fanny.” And you can’t claim to be an honestly religious person and support the kind of values we’ve had to endure these past four years. One or the other. THOSE values or real values. And people we know and love have chosen, and there are broken hearts all over America.

In January, our country will, after four years of moral darkness, see a light. It will take a long time to “fix” the nation after four years of deliberate destruction, but I am confident, with God in control again, that it will be done. The real Americans will make sure it’s done.

Every Child Deserves A Hot Lunch

Mamacita says; Don’t anyone dare to tell me that a school’s free lunch isn’t necessary, that it’s a luxury sought after by lazy parents, etc. If you were going to say anything remotely resembling that, zip it, NOW. After watching, year after year, children exiting their buses and running as fast as they could to the cafeteria for free breakfast, most of them without socks and with a coat, if any, that was meant for light spring weather, not bitter winter, I know what my tax dollars were paying for.

I was, and am, proud to think of my tax dollars making it possible for a child to have a stomach full enough that he/she could sit still and pay attention in class. A hungry child has more important things on his/her mind than arithmetic, and a starving child might even faint dead away in the middle of spelling. Many of them hadn’t eaten since their free lunch the day before.

Monday mornings were the worst – the children were often shaky with hunger after two days – more if there was a holiday or vacation – and would often help each other to the cafeteria. This was before the days of teachers sending food home in backpacks to get the child, and more often than not his siblings as well, through the weekend, and these children, your children, my children, everybody’s children, were HUNGRY. That free lunch was, for far too many children, the only actual meal those children got.

I’ve written before about how I always kept bread, peanut butter, and jelly in my classroom on a shelf that could not be seen from the front of the room. Any child who wanted a sandwich was free to come in and make one. Or two. The kids thought they were all dipping into the same jars all year, but I replaced everything each week. Administration told me to stop. I refused.

Before ISTEP, the big Indiana standardized test, the directives were clear: make sure each child has had a good breakfast before taking this test. The free breakfast, while a good thing, was a small cold breakfast, so every morning, I cooked breakfast for my testing group. Again, forbidden. Again, I did it anyway. A child whose stomach is growling continuously isn’t going to be able to give us a viable, valid showing. Then again, that test was so stupid, I had a hard time taking even my own children’s scores seriously. But no child was going to sit in my room with me in charge and write with shaky fingers while his stomach growled loudly enough to be heard in all four corners of the room. Besides, the rulebook SAID.

Whenever I read about school cafeteria menus changing all the time, making ketchup a vegetable, etc, I want to walk into a board meeting and require that each ignorant, overweight, well-fed member subsist on school food for a week. They won’t, of course. They know it’s awful. They dictated that it should be.

Originally, you know, school lunch was a hot, homemade actual meal. It was even called the Hot Lunch Program. I remember the ladies who came early in the morning to prepare everything, all homemade. Little by little, the nutritious and filling hot lunch became cold pizza and guv’ment surplus. In my building, our children were served “:brownies” made from prunes. So my peanut butter, jelly, and bread did a pretty good business. (I also know why our floor had mice.)

Every child deserves a good hot breakfast and a good hot lunch, especially when they’re not getting it at home. Schools don’t want to pay the lunch ladies overtime, so they come in later in the morning to warm up the food, and they don’t want to pay them to stay later and have to clean up the mess a good homecooked meal would make, so the lunch ladies have about a four-hour margin in which they get everything out, warm it up, serve it, and clean up. Ask your child how long lunch “hour” is. We’ve got to get these kids in and out fast so the room can be cleaned before time’s up.

My apologies for the novel; I was reading an article about Republicans wanting to modify the school lunch program, eliminate a lot of children from it, and cut food costs even more. Skimping on children and education is about as low as even rats can go.

Nice People Wear Masks In Public

Mamacita says: Whenever I see a maskless person who KNOWS HIS RIGHTS and thinks Covid is just the flu, out in public, I instantly assume that their parents were siblings and that each time they walk maskless through the Walmart/church/post office/anyplace door, they have personally murdered at least ten innocent people. In cold, hard, uncaring, unfeeling, selfish, babyish, ignorant, elitist, blood.

On a related note, these people who refuse to wear a mask and insist on forcing their Fox News belief system on others always look like they’re chewing on a live, struggling wasp and are doing it on purpose. Mean, stolid, and stupid.

Bring it.

Forgiveness? Still Working On That.

Mamacita says: On this day four years ago, I was in the intensive care ward. A woman had run two stop signs and collided with me as a colleague and I were on our way to a faculty meeting at the college. I will never fully recover from that wreck.

I can close my eyes and see her coming at us.

I never heard a single word from this woman, not an apology, not a hope that I would recover, nothing. Silence. Her insurance company fought us every step of the way. Until we hired a lawyer, the insurance company called me several times every day, starting with the day I got home from the hospital, chewing me out for thinking I should get any kind of settlement from them or this woman. (“You are too badly injured for our budget.”) (“What kind of person are you to ask for money from this woman?”) Only the news that a lawyer had been hired stopped the calls.

Four years later, the business part of this ordeal is finally over. (Eternal thanks to my awesome lawyer.) The healing part, both physical and emotional, is still ongoing. Every time I see a cutesy commercial for her insurance company, I want to throw something at the screen. They were absolutely horrible. As for the woman who tried her best to kill us. . . . I’m glad you weren’t hurt.

On a related note: we didn’t make it to the meeting, but fortunately we weren’t elected to anything or put in charge of something as absent teachers so often are. My beloved little red car was totaled, as was any hope of an active life for me. Oh, I can get around, but it’s not a pretty sight.

I am still working on the forgiveness part of this saga.

48Kimmie Deckard Knapp, Thomas Underwood and 46 others26 Comments

Christmas Season Without Mom

Mamacita says: I used to put a 6-ft. Christmas tree (tiny, by my standards) in my office window. People who live here couldn’t really see or appreciate it (except me) but Mom told me that when she stood at her kitchen sink and washed her dishes, next door, she could see it perfectly and loved to see the twinkling lights, so I really put it there for her to see while she worked. I didn’t put a tree there this year.