“There he is! There he is! Mr. Gels, Mr. Gels!”
I’d put my students on the bus some 15 minutes earlier, and I was walking back to my classroom after standing and talking with a co-worker. Now, it’s rarely a good thing when I hear my name echoing through the hallway, and it’s even more rare for it to be good when what looks like the entire after-school-day-care safety patrol contingent is the one doing the echoing.
“Mrs. M--- is looking for you! Mrs. M--- is looking for you!”
My assistant principal was looking for me. It’s with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek that I say this was quickly going from bad to worse. I ran through the usual list: I was supposed to be at an IEP meeting...nope. I’d missed a parent conference...nope. I’d said I’d take someone’s duty and forgot...possible, but duty should be over by now. I was lost, but I fell into formation behind them and made my way down the hall.
As I came into Mrs. M’s line of vision, I saw her break from a conversation and give me that look that says I’m glad to see you because there’s something that needs to be done. Okay, at least I didn’t forget anything (as I, ahem, sometimes do).
“There’s a truck here for you. You’ve got a bunch of cabbage plants. Get with the front desk and they’ll let you know where he’s at. We told him he had to leave because there wasn’t a available door during dismissal.” And just like that, she went back to her other conversation, apparently confident that I knew what she was talking about.
I did, but it certainly wasn’t an expected development in my afternoon. The Bonnie Plant Company has a program where they provide third grade students with a cabbage plant every year. It wasn’t something we’d done in a few years, but I was familiar enough with the program that I knew what to expect. As a quick aside, I love Bonnie’s brochure that comes with each plant; it shows a picture of a smiling kid with a ginormous cabbage plant (we’re talking beach ball-sized). The plants at our school rarely make it out the door alive.
Anyway, after making a big dent in my day’s step goal, I tracked down the plant guy as he pulled back into our parking lot after apparently delivering to another school. He was a great guy, new to this distribution route. Some small talk, a few trips in and out of the building carrying flats of cabbage, and a brief paperwork exchange saw him back on his way and me in possession of 144 cabbage plants ready to go home with students tomorrow.
Sauerkraut, anyone? Just give me a few months.