So much fun stuff this week! First, I would like to give a great big “Thank You” (sometimes we forget how simple yet important that is) to the N.C. Forestry officers that came within a week of my email asking for guidance. I was concerned about the health of a great big water oak in front of my shop. Just this past fall it was full and gorgeous and even housed some special honey bees. This spring it is not so happy. The man and woman that came out to view this tree were well spoken and full of knowledge. It was a pleasure to meet with them. By the end of our meeting, I continued to thank them when the woman pointed to the badge on her arm that read “Forestry Service.” She said, “This word service is what we are all about. We are not here to judge or give fines, we are here to provide a service for the people who need us.” Wow, I would have voted for her right then and there if she had declared her candidacy! HA HA. Too bad so many politicians and those in power have forgotten that golden rule, they are there to provide US with a service. Maybe we need to remind them once in a while — a phone call, letter or email might make more of a difference than you can imagine.
On the home front, I was a bit upset this week when I read a story about a local second grade student who had a toy gun in his backpack and even though he never took the toy out of his backpack nor threaten anyone with it nor acted in any way, shape or form that would be considered violent, the toy was confiscated when someone else heard him talking about it. I’m sorry folks. A toy is a toy. This is not something to be feared, and we are making a bunch of paranoid individuals out of our children. What really made me upset was when I learned that an “Alert” had been sent out to parents of students in the elementary school letting them know that an “inappropriate item” was confiscated and that there was nothing for them to worry about. Would they have done the same thing if it was a box of matches or a playboy magazine? If you go into ANY store these days there are lots of inexpensive TOY guns, snap guns, rubber band guns of all different colors and shapes with flashing lights and irritating noises, but they are still toys. We all grew up with them. We need to cut this out.
After posting a comment on the proposed state budget on Facebook this week, I was overwhelmed with very emotional responses, and some great phone calls. One of the topics I addressed was the reduction of services provided to teachers (no more teacher’s assistants for 2nd and 3rd graders) and the fact that they would not be entitled to any raise next year (or any other state employee). We are going backwards folks. We are preparing our children to fail. I did not go to a private school and I received a FANTASTIC education filled with art, music and the three R’s (reading, writing and arithmetic). We weren’t tested to boredom. I learned things that I use today like how to respect others and if you spoke out in class or disrupted the teacher you went to the principal’s office and your parents were called (never a good thing). If you got into trouble at school everyone on your road knew about it before you got off the bus (and this was well before cell phones folks). We were rewarded for hard work and encouraged to try new things. I learned script in third grade from a teacher I will never forget (partly because she had the worst bad breath and leaned over our shoulders all the time to make sure we got the loops right). But she took the time and she was given the chance to teach — and we learned.
So on this Memorial Day, not only am I going to honor the men and women in uniform that keep our country great, I am going to honor the teachers that helped make me the person I am today — Thank you Mrs. Smith (3rd grade), Mrs. Caccoti (2nd), Mr. Deaver (4th) and of course, the terrible trio of 6th grade: Mr.Kirk, Mr.Kraft and Mr. Kahn who wrote the always memorable “The Presidents Song” that I still sing today. Take a minute and think back. Each of us had a great teacher; hopefully, some us of had a whole slew of them. Either way, they need our respect and honor too.
Remember that knowledge is your greatest asset and somewhere out there is a teacher that gave you that power!
Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.