Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Unusual Occurrence

I had quite the unusual experience the other morning.  It was a Monday, and in typical Monday fashion things were crazy at my house.  Luckily, or unluckily, Emma slept in... which means I did too... and we were running late.  I had to find clothes for her to wear, gather the things that belong in her back-pack for school, pack her lunch, feed her breakfast and throw some clothes on myself.  Oh, and actually get her up!

So, I started with me.  Clothes.  I opened my t-shirt drawer and the one on top is from the annual Pig Smoke that Chuck and his friends host.  I didn't want to put that one on because Emma always has to touch and talk to and talk about the animal picture on my shirt.  I knew that I didn't have time for all of that so I flipped through until I found one from my year of teaching at Carthage High School.  It had a tiger on the back, but I thought/hoped she wouldn't notice it.  Of course, I was wrong.  I am convinced that she remembered that there was an animal on the back.  So, we talked about tigers as I got her ready.

Next, I finished off the mandatory things before we left for school and off we went. I got her to school just in time to catch the tail end of the drop-off line.  Whew!  Now I could head home and brush my teeth, my hair and shower.

But, again... wrong!  As I was heading home, I got caught in the wrong lane and had to turn right like instead of going straight home.  Okay, I thought, I guess I'll take the long way home.  Since I am now going the long way, I pick up my phone and call my sister-in-law, Jennifer, to try to finalize the juggling act that my family was going to have to pull to help me out with Emma that afternoon.  As I was driving, I guess I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been, and I realized that I had driven myself to Wal-Mart... which was on the way home on this path, and on my to-do list for the morning, but not in my plans to do at that time.  I mean, I didn't even brush my teeth before taking Emma to school!

Now, I am sitting in Wal-Mart parking lot, debating whether or not to go in and talking to Jennifer.  Well, we finish our conversation and I decide that if I can find some gum that I will just get it over with.  I only needed  diapers and dog food, so surely I could get in and out without being seen. Maybe!?!?

Of course, as luck would have it, I found some gum in my purse and headed in.  Dog food to the right, diapers in the back left of the store.  I got the dog food, and headed to the back.  So far, so good.  About half way to the back of the store, I hear this overly cheerful voice say, "Good Morning!"  I reply "Good Morning" in my best please-don't-talk-to-me-don't-acknowledge-my-presence-I-haven't-even-brushed-my-teeth voice.  Apparently, I need to practice that voice because the overly cheerful voice continues... "How are you this morning?"  I am trying really hard to be polite, but end the conversation so I said "Fine, thank you.  You?"  I am steadily walking as I speak, but this person, this man that works at Wal-Mart, has fallen into step with me so he can continue talking.

He tells me that he is great and that it is a great day.  He says that they are putting guns back in his store.... I didn't know they had taken guns out of Wal-Mart, and honestly, don't care.  At this point, he walks ahead of me, and I think "Thank goodness, I don't have time for this."  But, before I can finish this thought he has turned around and come back to me.  He stops in front of my buggy, which blocks my path and makes me a little uncomfortable, and peers at my t-shirt.  Then he says, "Carthage, huh?  Are they putting guns back in your store?"

I say to him that I'm not from Carthage, that I live in Meridian, which gets me a puzzled look from this man.  So, I proceed to tell him that I just taught there.  Why I felt the need to explain this to this man, BJ, his name tag states, I still have no clue.  But anyway, I do and he walks away again.  This time I don't try to think, I just keep moving along, trying to get to the diapers.  But, to no avail, because he come back.  Again.

He now has this look of peaked interest, which concerns me, and he says, "You're a teacher?" I explain that I was... but only for a year.  So he asks what I am doing now.  At this point, I am asking myself 1) why I feel the need to answer his questions because I have no clue who this person is 2) why didn't I go another way after my first encounter with him and 3) how did I wind up in here this morning when I clearly hadn't planned to come until later.

For reasons still unknown to me, I tell this man, this stranger, that I now stay home to take care of my baby.  He tells me that that is a good reason to not teach anymore and then asks me if they paid me good when I taught at Carthage.  "Not bad for a first year, " I tell him and yet again, he takes a step to walk away.

I am about to bolt when he stops and asks if I have a whole year under my belt.  I say "Yes" and he asks what I taught.  I told him junior English, to which he replies, "Good English teachers are hard to come by."  I agree with him, because I actually do agree... Not saying that I was a good one, but I tried.  Anyway, he asks if I had considered tutoring.  My thoughts were, No, I haven't.  I hadn't thought about it as an option.  Besides, I have a baby and one on the way, so I'm out on that.  But, my words to him were, "I just moved here and haven't gotten completely settled.  Maybe once I do, I will look into it.  He tells me that I could make $55,000 a year tutoring... which is more than I made teaching, and probably less stress!  So, I smile and say okay.

Finally, he introduces himself as BJ, and he is on the school board.  He says they are always looking for good employees and that if he can help me in anyway to look him up.  I introduce myself and thank him for the information and away he walks.  He gets several steps ahead of my before stopping and coming back to me.  I am ready to tell him I'm not interested and that I'm in a hurry when he says to me... "You know, the good Lord may have just put you in Wal-Mart this morning for a reason."

Chills cover my body and tears came to my eyes.

I didn't have a chance to look him up until Monday evening.  But, I checked the school websites just to make sure this guy was legit.  He is.  And, after I told all of this to Chuck, he said he knows who he is.

I haven't made any decisions whether or not to check into tutoring any further because I have had quite a bit going on the past couple of days, but a seed has been planted by this unusual occurrence.  A seed that I will pray long and hard about.

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