Posted tagged ‘Goodwill’

Missing Pieces…in My Classroom

February 16, 2020

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                       February 16, 2020

                             

There is a designated area in our middle school that is over-populated most of the time. It’s the school’s version of the Goodwill drop-off container, located in the parking lot of our supermarket, always overflowing with whatever people want to discard.

At our middle school, however, our crowded area is called “Lost and Found”. The name is mis-leading because rarely does the loser go to find their lost items there. Coats get left in classrooms on twenty degree temperature days and never retrieved. There are so many water bottles at the Lost and Found that the student council should consider opening a hydration supplies store. 

T-shirts, mittens, stuffed animals, notebooks, eyeglasses and eyeglass cases, backpacks, shoes, sandals, pens and pencils, lunch containers, wristbands, headbands, and on and on.

At the end of one of my classes this week I noticed a jar of Vaseline under one of the tables. The top part of the jar lid had been cut out so that the opening was uncovered. I’m not sure if I want to know why a 7th grader has a jar of Vaseline in class. I put the jar on my desk and waited to see if anyone would claim it the next day. When I saw Sherri, our evening custodian, I brought her into my classroom and explained to her that the Vaseline was not mine so she wouldn’t think I was weird…well, maybe just weirder!

No one owned up to losing the jar so I tossed it. Even the Lost and Found shouldn’t have open Vaseline jars in it!

One thing that students don’t lose in my classroom: Candy! I have yet to find a Snickers bar left behind, or a half eaten bag of Cheetos. What they do leave behind are the wrappers. A couple of classes will lose their eating privileges next week because of a couple of students who consumed rolls of Smarties but weren’t smart enough to dispose of the wrappers. 

I suppose losing items in middle school is one thing that hasn’t changed since I roamed the halls fifty years ago. I left jackets behind but, as I remember, I was more concerned about the wrath of my parents than I was with actually looking for the missing garment. I simply tried to avoid detection, sprinting out the door in the morning when Mom wasn’t looking. Discovery Day, however, would come at some point and I’d be asked the feared question: Where’s your jacket…your new jacket that we spent our hard-earned money to provide for you?

I can’t remember if I had used the time between lostness and being found out to come up with an excuse, like someone stole it or cafeteria catsup was dumped on it and it became unbearable, but the bottom line is that keeping track of my possessions was not a skill that I possessed. 

Parental guilt didn’t make it better. Putting my name on everything from shirts to underwear didn’t seem to help either. At some point, I just became more responsible, or at least there were glimpses of responsibility. 

This past Friday there were a few items left behind at the end of classes that were not lost. A few students had placed candy on my desk…Valentine’s Day candy! 

What a treat!

Coming To Grips With My Quirkiness

July 4, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 July 4, 2016

                                      

I was sitting at Starbucks this morning doing some writing. There was a man sitting in my seat! I had to sit in a different seat and try to write. The words weren’t coming in spite of the coffee. Then the man left…and I moved like a 5:00 A.M. Black Friday shopper at the doors of Best Buy as it opens.

And it hits me that I’m quirky!

“Quirky” is defined as “characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits.” Rushing to get a specific seat at Starbucks- the one at the end of the counter that faces out towards Pike’s Peak- is a little quirky.

There are preferences and there are quirks. Quirks are those things that are a little bizarre that we try to convince ourselves are simply preferences. I prefer to use a certain pillow to sleep with. That’s a preference. The “blankie” I prefer, that is becoming a little threadbare, is quirky. When a 62 year old takes his blanket with him on road trips…that’s quirky! Call me Linus!

I reuse my dental floss. That’s quirky! However, my wife disagrees. She says it is simply disgusting…so I hide it from her. That’s quirkiness spiced with deception!

There are certain brands of clothing that I wear, and no other. I buy my underwear and socks at J.C. Penney’s because…because that’s where my mom would buy them when I was a kid. She worked there! One time I got some underwear from a different store. It was suppose to be more manly. Instead, it kept pinching the twins! Soon after that Goodwill got a package of items that were almost new!

If I go to a rummage sale that happens to have jigsaw puzzles, watch out! Even though I have about thirty of them already that I haven’t put together, when I see another it’s like I see gold! I’m a borderline hoarder. I grieved the recent loss of my carrying case of cassette tapes, even though we no longer have a cassette player.

I’ve got my quirks!

We all do! Churches are the quirkiest of all! Most churches have to have a Sunday bulletin with the order of worship in it, even though the worship order hasn’t changed since the Day of Pentecost…the original Day of Pentecost!

Eighty percent of regular Sunday worship attenders sit in the same seat each Sunday. My Starbuck’s seat preference would seem to be normal behavior!

Churches put quirky things on their outdoor signs, like “All Are Welcome!” What other business or public place puts “All Are Welcome” on their sign? For some reason, however, churches seem to have to state it. Of course, sometimes some people discover a little later on that all aren’t welcome, but that’s another issue entirely.

Churches are quirky about change. “If it was good enough for Jesus…” Sometimes it is almost like entering into a time warp. One church did not allow any translation of the Bible except the King James Version. All other versions were seen as being tainted and worldly. “If it was good for Jesus…” It couldn’t even be the New King James, because the New King James did not talk in Jesus’ language, using “Thy’s” and “Thou’s”, and other verbiage that sounded extra spiritual.

Churches are quirky!

It is what it is! In my act of looking normal I am shadowed by my quirkiness. Sometimes, however, quirkiness is a good thing. For example, if someone had been sitting in my seat at Starbucks I would never have been able to write this blog.

Letting Go of My Cassette Tapes

June 8, 2016

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                June 8, 2016

                                

It’s been a difficult week. I took my carrying case of cassette tapes to Goodwill! It was comparable to that day several years ago when Carol and I took Lizi, our youngest, to college.

Carol has been cleaning up the basement this week. The trunk of our car was loaded with various boxes and forgotten treasures. I was okay with the old humidifier finding its place in the trunk, but then…then (dramatic music for effect)…she brought out the tape case.

I had forgotten about it, but then I started looking at all the products of music production that it held.

Twila Paris….Bohemian Melodies…Lake Wobegon Days…Whale Sounds…DeGarmo and Key…Cat Stevens…Andrae Crouch…Larry Norman…Keith Green! The last three are now dead, but hey!…their music never dies…unless, of course, its on a cassette tape.

I begrudgingly zipped the case closed and said a few holy words over it, sprayed incense in the air, tore my cloak and threw ashes on my head, and then drove the condemned to Goodwill.

I realize that neither of our vehicles has a tape player, and the one cassette player we have is somewhere unknown, but it is hard to let go of objects that I’ve associated with a certain period of my life.

Cassette tapes were from a time when Carol and I were raising three kids. There’s a sweetness to those memories. I would listen to Twila Paris as I prepared the Sunday message. When the music ended, I pressed the eject button and the tape door would open. I’d flip the cassette over and press Play. Good times and good music.

Life is littered with those Goodwill moments when we just need to let some things go. Pack them up and move on.

Churches usually aren’t very good at that. Sentiment runs high. Every congregation has a certain number of people who want things to stay the same. Like with my cassette tapes, I just wanted them to be there in case, for some odd reason, on a rainy afternoon I ever had the urge to hear whale sounds again.

Years ago there was a man in my church who had to travel most of the time. He would be gone for three or four months and then be home for a week. I got wind of the fact that he wasn’t going to come to church anymore so I called him. He said the church had changed, that it wasn’t the same. In essence, he wanted it to be there for him whenever he had the urge or possibility of attending. In his turbulent and fast-paced life he wanted the worship service to be the same as it had been in order to bring back to him memories of a period of his life that he longed to return to.

It’s hard to say goodbye, because we feel that we’re being insensitive. There are those who transition, it seems, with ease, and then there are those of us who hold on because we associate whatever we’re grasping with God. If it at one time was a vehicle of God we think it borders on blasphemy to get rid of it.

Churches are often hoarders out of a confused love for God. It’s like when I go to Best Buy and purchase a new Blu-Ray player, and then bring it home and sit it on top of my DVD player, which is still sitting on top of my VHS player.

Sometimes we just have to take the cassette tapes to Goodwill!

What Carol doesn’t realize is that I sneaked half a dozen tapes out of the case when she was out of the room. I think that’s okay! Bohemian Melodies, it seems, are few and far between these days.