As I write this, on the last Thursday of October, I am reminded of what I called “Teachers Meeting” growing up. All during my school years, and even into my college years at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the public schools in East Tennessee were closed the last Thursday and Friday of October for “Teachers Meeting.” I remember at least one year over “Teachers Meeting” weekend going with my parents to Ohio to visit relatives on my mother’s side of the family. On the way, my father, who began school in rural Washington County in 1930, said they had “Teachers Meeting” when he was in first grade. He remembered because had his tonsils removed then!
What was “Teachers Meeting?” It was when members of the East Tennessee Education Association converged in Knoxville for their annual meeting. When I was at UT, there were no classes on “Teachers Meeting” days because many of the larger lecture halls and other facilities were used for the conference. I am not sure when the transition from “Teachers Meeting” to “Fall Break” happened. However, schoolchildren are no longer out for those two precious days near Halloween; instead, they typically have a weeklong Fall Break, which is usually around the first week in October.
And also, as I write this, I have just cut a load of lavender from my herb garden. I love the way lavender smells and looks! I have put some out on my front porch in several Coke bottles for invited friends to pick up and enjoy. Social distancing in times of COVID, along with recycling the Coke bottles!
Why did I decide to cut the lavender today? Depending on which forecast I read or watch, we will likely wake up to frost either Saturday morning or Monday morning. We may have frost both mornings. I wanted others to be able to enjoy the lavender, even after the frost, just as I have prior to the frost.
I love my herbs and herb garden. Admittedly, I did not plant as many herbs this year as I have many years in the past. Unfortunately, much of what I did plant did not flourish. I am hopeful next year will be better. However, my mint continues to do very well. Spearmint, peppermint and catnip seem to spread like kudzu at the Olympics!
One of the unexpected joys in my life is the deep pleasure I get when I can give friends herb cuttings and clippings. I well remember the first time I gave an herb bouquet away, which was years ago. I was blown away by the way it made me feel. It was much better than giving a store-bought gift, and I think it was God’s way of reminding me I was sharing the resources He provided to me. Moreover, He was pleased.
On Saturday night, we moved our clocks back one hour. I could never remember if it was “Fall back. Spring forward” or “Fall forward. Spring back” until I thought, “You don’t say ‘Fall forward.’ You say ‘Fall back’”. It has been easy since to remember, but it’s not always easy to adjust to the days when darkness comes shortly after 5 p.m.
By the time most of you read this on Tuesday, the United States will be in the throes of Election Day. Hopefully when we go to bed Tuesday night, or at least when we wake up on Wednesday morning, we will know if we will be saying, “President Trump” for four more years, or if we will start saying, “President Biden” in January of 2021. From what I hear and read, approximately half of the population of the United States will be happy. And the other half of the people our great nation will be exhibiting varying degrees of displeasure. Regardless of the outcome, I am hopeful civility will prevail.
Those of you who know me well know I enjoy politics and political discussions. This election year, however, has just about worn me out. Maybe it’s the combination of the lack of politeness and consideration we’ve seen with COVID and the other things 2020 has hurled our way. I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that I am ending this blog with the same first two words I used in starting it.
Copyright October 29, 2020 by Rebecca Henderson