The flakes that snowed on my spring parade last week notwithstanding, my spirits have been moving in an upward trajectory. With hours of sunshine out-proportioning overhead gray gloom, tantalizing temperatures beginning with 6’s and 7’s continue to seduce me into wondering how soon I can put the screens back in my doors. Happy moments seem to abound, and I am loving it!
I have thoroughly enjoyed the little chalk artist and her cast of passersby featured in the newest Kohl’s commercial. Her delight at reactions to the hopscotch game she so colorfully outlined on the sidewalk is matched only by the carefree manner in which various adults hop through, each according to personality. The department store’s latest contribution to the world of advertising has me thinking hopeful thoughts about non-pandemic days that are becoming a little easier to imagine.
Another pandemic-related event gladdened my heart: I received my vaccination card! I decided to be vaccinated because it was the right option for my older demographic group and my relatively short but important list of underlying health conditions. The nurse who did the honors was a GHS grad, so we caught up on family and Falcon news. Amanda adeptly administered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with the tiniest prick of the tiniest needle – it was pretty much over before I even knew it had started! Side effects amounted to an achy arm for a day or so.
In addition to my personal health situation, which is basically decent – and I want to keep it that way – I opted for the shot with other factors in mind. Naturally, I want to protect myself from perhaps contracting this communicable disease. But I also consider the vaccination my contribution to the community, a civic action I can carry out for the greater good. The long-ago vaccinations my parents chose for us kids have stood us in good stead against smallpox, a deadly but now eradicated disease I know only from online info, and polio, whose specter of weakened limbs and iron lungs frightened my childhood self. These days as I make my health decisions, I choose to rely on science.
Happiness also came from a completely different source. A friend shared that she had finished a book I recommended, The Daughters of Yalta, Catherine Grace Katz’s account of the 1945 conference at which Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met. After we talked, I refreshed my memory of two charming anecdotes I had found in an article about Ms. Katz’s childhood. The precocious daughter from a reading family loved the feel and smell of books and recalled that her first-grade teacher allowed her to go the library every day as a special privilege. The young reader was thrilled at being permitted to check out two books every day instead of just one.
Even better than the school library, however, was the Pioneer Room for third-graders. “We got to live there like pioneers in Little House on the Prairie for an entire school day!” What a grand idea! My youngest sister, no longer a third-grader but a devotee of all things Laura Ingalls Wilder, would undoubtedly enjoy a day in that room!
Way beyond smiles were my giggles and guffaws at YouTube videos showing 21st century OSU football players attempting to identify retro fads in “Name the 90s.” Forrest Gump gave them no problem, nor did Blue’s Clues – although it was comical to see these vaunted Buckeye athletes able to recognize the popular pup so quickly. Guessing chia pet and some kind of Pokeman preceded the actual pinpointing of a Furby. But I absolutely cracked up when they misidentified a floppy disk as an mp3, a tape recorder, and a DVR. One of the Saturday afternoon gridders finally gave up in frustration: “What kind of a name is floppy disk anyway?” At least they all recognized the photograph of Eddie George!
I smiled again when a sticky note covered with barely decipherable jottings rose to the top of my idea slush pile. I had written the note upon hearing someone describe the sound of wind blowing through a bamboo forest as children laughing. I was disappointed to find no confirmation of such a beautiful possibility.
Wandering through Google, though, I eventually landed on a YouTube video of a kookaburra laughing in the jungle. From a dusty corner of my mind, I extracted a 4-H camp song: Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree / Merry, merry king of the bush is he / Laugh, kookaburra; laugh, kookaburra! / Gay your life must be!
All those years ago in the dining hall at Camp Clifton, I assumed I was singing about a bear, not a native Australian bird with a raucous laugh. I celebrated my newfound knowledge by warbling aloud other camp favorites: “White Coral Bells,” “Roll the Old Chariot Along,” and “We’re Ohio’s Sons and Daughters.” I even remembered most of the lyrics!
The week concluded with some further chuckles. A celebrity game show contestant defined a steer as a male deer! Grown adults in a local office trying to identify animal noises outside narrowed their choices to a moose or a dinosaur! A grandson explained the tiny war figures he added to his grandmother’s coffee as “the best thing about waking up is soldiers in your cup.”
Who wouldn’t be smiling after a week like that? I am counting on the trend to continue!
Shirley Scott, a 1966 graduate of Graham High School, is a native of Champaign County. After receiving degrees in English and German from Otterbein College, she returned to GHS in 1970 where she taught until retiring in 2010. From 1976-2001 she coordinated the German Exchange Program with the Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium in Springe.