Posted in Teaching

The Greatest Gifts, Part 1

Ralphie brings his teacher a basket of fruit in A Christmas Story
Ralphie brings his teacher a basket of fruit in A Christmas Story

Yesterday, I shared on my blog some of the gifts I received from students during my teaching career. But I saved the best three for last.

A Girl After My Own Heart, er… Stomach

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The greatest gift is a portion of yourself.” Either that or BACON.

The year after I got married, I taught a girl who we will call Ramona. Ramona was a cool chick. She wore cute little stylish glasses and made some of her own clothes. She was also very empathetic.

One day, I told her class how frustrated I had been the night before at my new husband. I had driven home from work, skipping yoga or grocery shopping or whatever errand I had intended to do, and opened the door to a house that smelled of delicious, delicious bacon. Mouth watering, stomach growling, I’d smiled at my hubby and said, “You made bacon?!” only to find out that yes, he’d made bacon. And he’d eaten all of it. There was nothing left for his poor starving wife.

bacon

This was before bacon had reached the celebrity status that it’s at today. Back then, it was still a simple, albeit scrumptious, breakfast meat. Still, my story (which I’m sure tied in quite nicely with whatever I was teaching that day?) stirred the appropriate amount of sympathy in my students. Even more than the denial of the greasy crunch itself, they understood my feelings of betrayal. And no one felt my frustration like Ramona.

“He didn’t save you any?!” she gasped.  I shook my head sadly.

The conversation was fun, and I appreciated how my students rallied behind my cause, but then I pretty much forgot the whole thing. So I was completely unprepared when, a couple of days later, Ramona showed up in my classroom before school with… bacon. Homemade, crispy, still-warm bacon, wrapped in aluminum foil and held up in both of her hands like an offering to the gods. I couldn’t believe it.

As you know from my previous post, homemade goodies must be treated with caution. I’ve thrown away many a cookie that looked clean and tasty but which didn’t pass the packaging test. But I will tell you right now with no regrets whatsoever, I ate that foil-wrapped gift. And it was wonderful.

Ramona is the only student I ever taught who gave me bacon.

 

[To read more stories from my teaching career, check out my Teaching Stories page.]

Author:

Carie Juettner is a teacher and writer in Austin, Texas. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as Daily Science Fiction, Nature Futures, The Texas Poetry Calendar, and HelloHorror. She is currently working on a novel for the middle grade audience. Well, CURRENTLY she is drinking a cup of coffee and petting a dog, but she promises to get back to the novel in just a few minutes.

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