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Column: DOTTING MY TEAS – Nomads


By: Marlene Oxender

The only thing I remember from my third-grade social studies class is the word “nomad.” I was simply not a fan of the subject of social studies. Those nomad people.

Who were they? And why didn’t they find a home? They lived somewhere on another continent. I wondered why they didn’t build a house and live like normal people.

Daydreaming was a way I coped with all-things-boring back in my school days. Most of us will admit that daydreaming has gotten us through a few tough times in our life.

There are times when we need hope. Hope that tomorrow will be more fun.

There were times I was called upon to read the next paragraph about the poor nomad people. The teacher apparently knew I had no clue where I was to start reading.

Reading aloud was something I loved to do, but interrupting a good daydream is something a teacher ought not to do.

Phonics, on the other hand, was the most incredible, wonderful topic there ever could be. I remember we carried our chairs to our reading circles and studied away. Good times.

In the stack of homework my mother had saved for us is a biology test dating back to 1981. My sister Jeanette would be graduating in a couple of years, and her homework shows us some of the information she and her classmates were asked to study.

I knew Jeanette would not remember the work she had completed so long ago, so I texted a picture of her homework to her.

I pointed out the question she had skipped: Describe the economic importance of frogs. There it was – a question she needed to answer. Why did she leave it blank?

She’s had four decades to ponder that question. Certainly, she is old enough and wise enough now. She would know the answer. But she didn’t.

Even the men in my life who know all about fishing and hunting look at me blankly when I ask them to discuss the economic importance of frogs.

We can ponder questions such as these and come up with a rather lame answer, or we can go straight to the internet and type our question in.

After reading about all-things-frog, I decided that frogs may be a little more fascinating than we could imagine. The only thing I’d known about frogs was that I didn’t care to hold one. I have plenty of children in my life who will take care of handling frogs for me.

Another question on the biology test: Describe the body changes that occur in the metamorphosis of a frog.

Jeanette answered with: It goes from a tadpole to a frog in about 5 or 6 different stages. Jeanette has no artistic abilities, but somehow, she managed to draw a fish and label the parts. I’m sure she and her classmates found their knowledge of the anatomy of a fish came in handy over the years.

When trivia games were played, they knew that “gill filaments” and “pyloric caeca” were the answers their team would need.

I haven’t told her that I found her drawing of a properly labeled earthworm. Jeanette’s saved homework could now be referred to as “vintage,” and an antique dealer would quickly recognize the value.

Perhaps I should frame the drawings of the fish and the worm, and someone who owns a lake cottage will find a place on the wall and appreciate her work.

There are plenty of men who’ll tell you that being at the lake is as close to heaven as you can get. They are confident that there will be fishing in their next life. And frogs – there will certainly be plenty of frogs for the children to hold.

I wonder if there is phonics in heaven? And writing – I hope it’s the beautiful cursive style. Surely the social studies classes will come to an end. We will just talk to the nomad people and get their side of the story. We will tell them we’re glad they found their home.

I imagine all of us have had times we’ve searched for meaning as we walk through life. We ask ourselves what we’re supposed to be doing.  What our purpose is.

And while we’re pondering, we put another load of clothes in the washing machine. Or find some work to do around the house.

When we are children, there’s no need to think about our purpose in life. It’s simply a time when we’re curious and naturally want to explore the world.

A world full of crickets, toads, and worms. Full of daydreamers and fishermen. Full of tadpoles that morph into frogs.

All creatures, great and small, have ways of navigating on this earth: some swim, some jump, some slither, and some walk. Some know their purpose and where they are going. Some don’t.

With our imagination as the leader, we can walk through life knowing we have what it takes – knowing we’re made of starlight and wisdom of old.

We’ll place one foot in front of the other and move forward. And although “metamorphosis” is not a term used to describe how humans grow and change, everyone morphs into the person they are meant to be.

The daydreamer within us knows we’ve already arrived. We’re here to explore – even if we go no further than the local fishpond where the tadpoles are hanging out.

There is no time like the present. For “time” is not yesterday. “Time” is not tomorrow. “Time” is now. So here we are – if earth really is a big playground – it’s game on.


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Marlene Oxender is a writer, speaker, and author. She writes about growing up in the small town of Edgerton, her ten siblings, the memorabilia in her parents’ estate, and her younger brother, Stevie Kimpel, who was born with Down syndrome. Her two recently published books, Picket Fences and Stevie, are available on Amazon.

The post Column: DOTTING MY TEAS – Nomads first appeared on The Village Reporter.


Source: The Village Reporter

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