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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 28, 2003 - Issue 90


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The Lesson of the Tissue Paper Carnation


by Timm Severud - A Little Timmy Story :)


Carnation MosiacWhen I was in First Grade, I had a lovely teacher, Mrs. Gasper, who had been a classmate of my father's and a close friend, and former fellow teacher with my mother. The school was about 7 small city blocks from home.

I was enjoying the morning and the first dandelions of spring during recess, when the bell rang and I got up and draggingly walked back to class. I remember thinking I just do not want to go back inside. I wanted to fall asleep on the grass.

As events would have it, Mrs. Gasper had a project all planned for us. It was an art project, where she took tissue paper, scissors and gosh knows what else to make them.

When she told us what we were going to be doing... I am afraid I lost it. The words I used were the worst of it. To paraphrase myself 'Why the heck would I flipping want to make a flower, when I can go outside and enjoy real ones?'

The silence in the room was stunning. Mrs. Gasper told me to 'shut up' and to sit in the corner. She then buzzed Mrs. Anderson, the principle... who of course called Mom.

Mom never did learn how to drive, so it took her about 7 minutes to get to the school... I heard the door open to the school when she came in, I heard the foot steps coming down the hall. There was anger in the step. Then she opened the door to the class and she uttered the words I will always remember, 'I hope you have said your prayers Mister!'

She then tried to make me make a tissue paper carnation and I absolutely refused... I was spanked by her in front of the class, but still refused. She then grabbed me like a sack of potatoes and put me under her arm. 'Apparently you do not belong in school today, you need to talk to your father.' Carrying me that way, we left, we went out the back door of the school across the playground and to Carlson's (where Dad was foreman). Mom told Dad what I had done... He got red hot mad. He got right eye-to-eye with me, then he stopped, backed up, turned his head from side to side and said, 'Dot, does he have chicken pox?'

About half the kids in the school came down with it the next week or so. Mom always called my case 'The Meanest Case of Chicken Pox on Record.'

I never did learn to make tissue paper carnations... some things are just never meant to be... beside do we really want to go down that path, what epidemic would I have to inspire, remember I would do anything to get out of it.

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