Tuesday, November 26, 2002
Of course, no traditional holiday festivities can compete with the fun of filling up Sean's tennis ball/soda-can cannon with ants and setting off the lighter fluid to see what happens.
This one is for Catherine.
Thanksgiving was the best holiday when I was kid. We usually got the first snow of the year on Thanksgiving in Tonasket (except that year we got the first snow on Halloween), so even if it wasn't already a holiday, the day always seemed marked as something special. I'm sure my parents didn't always like the snow, especially when we had to drive to Grandma's for dinner, but it always gave us something fun to do outside the house. One of the best things we did (and this is why cousins are important--you can get away with more if your cousin is involved because your parents won't punish them like they might punish you) was build a giant--a super giant--snow man right in the middle of the driveway so no one could get their cars out after dinner. It was all ratty looking because the larger we made the snow balls, the heavier they were, and the deeper they crushed into the snow cover, so by the end, they were picking up all the orchard leaves off the ground as well as the snow and dirt.
Okay, a few of the snowball fights went awry, but generally, we all got along together. Cousins are a thousand times better than siblings, if you ask me. I'd rather eat at the kids' table with them than the adult table with any one else. Especially with Sean, wouldn't you say? It's hard to fight when Sean is around. But I like(d) all my cousins, and hey, they were all sober in those days.
Also good about Thanksgiving: we usually got fed twice. Thanksgiving Day was usually at home, then we'd do the real dinner on Saturday, usually at Rosella's, but sometimes at our house or Grandma's. That meant two turkey dinners in the space of three days. Well, I shouldn't say, but no one liked it when it was at Grandma's because her cooking wasn't so good. That's kind of funny because she taught Aunt Rosie and my mom how to cook, and they both cook just fine (and in an identical fashion), so I'm not sure how that horse went down the wrong trail. Now my feminist sensibilities are all offended: Hey, that means the women in the family had to cook two full dinners (and do the dishes afterward!), but I didn't care back then. I just wanted to eat and play.
So, there you go. Not every moment of my childhood was totally traumatic. Doesn't that make you feel better?
As I was locking up the labs last night, the one student who always stays until the very last minute stopped me and told me there was something he forgot to write down on his student evaluation. I must have looked a little bleak, because he instantly said, "No, it's good! It's a good thing!" He said he appreciated the way I grade and my grading scale. I wasn't sure what he meant, but he went on to say, "I know a lot of people complain, but I like the way you grade. If I get an A from you, I know I deserved it. You don't just hand them out like a lot of teachers do." So, that made me feel a little better (but I wish he had written it on the evaluation to balance out all those complaints about how I grade too hard). The funny things is, as we continued to talk, I heard myself justifying myself over and over, explaining why I grade so hard. How stupid is that? He says he likes it, and I still end up trying to defend myself. Dork.
I have 5 students in one class and 7 in another who haven't shown up in the last ten weeks, but they also haven't dropped the course. I'm going to be handing out a lot of Fs this semester.