Monday, May 2, 2011
Polish Some Apples for Tuesday
Tuesday, May 3, 2011, is National Teacher Day. Please visit the National Education Association (NEA) website for ideas how to celebrate. Back in the day of The Lady With the Red Hair's parents, students took apples to give to their favorite teachers. This is probably the origin of the expression apple polishing, but my sources inform me that the practice of giving apples to teachers was not a crass attempt to curry favor or ingratiate oneself. Teachers were (and are) much too savvy to be fooled by so transparent a motive. Instead, students were showing their appreciation for the tremendous efforts their teachers expended to guide and enhance classroom learning. (You may roll your eyes if you will, but I am hearing this from the parents and grandparents of some of my over 30 colleagues, and I highly respect elder wisdom.)
How many of my readers are teachers? This Tuesday, you should be lifted upon the shoulders of generations of grateful students and carried victoriously to the restaurant of your choice, whereupon you shall consume an expensive meal for which your former and current students shall happily foot the bill. That, in a fair and honest world, would be the standard scenario. I know many people who can name a fistful of teachers (sounds like an old Clint Eastwood Italian, or "Spaghetti," Western) who transformed their lives when they were students. Name a few for yourself, and if you can find them, write them an email or tweet them or get a postage stamp and mail them a handwritten note thanking them for their invaluable contributions to the fulfillment of your life dreams.
You may think that, as a feline, I have no teachers to thank. "Correct me if I'm wrong," you might say, "But cats don't go to school, so they don't have teachers." If you were to say that, you're wrong; that was me correcting you. Every kitten who ever lived has been taught by an older, wiser cat. Just ask Harley, who is still a kitten and is still learning from her elders. My feline mentor was Jules Le Chat, who you may know as my Library's special feline correspondent for our nature news beat. Like me, Jules (or Juliet, as her human caregivers prefer to call her) was a freedom feline who roamed the neighborhoods surrounding my Library on the west side of Mooresville, Indiana. It was Jules who taught me to dumpster-dive at McDonald's. She taught me who tossed out the best leftover people food on trash collection days. She trained me to use massive cuteness, ankle-rubbing, and purring to get special treats from cat-friendly strangers. She also showed me how to capture, toy with, and occasionally eat meeses, which, if you remember the old Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Pixie and Dixie (and Mr. Jinks) (1958-1962), are these fine furry fellows.
Quick! On which television cartoon program were Pixie, Dixie, and Mr. Jinks regularly featured between 1958 and 1962? Send your answers via comments. (Go ahead and Google it--I can wait.)
Anyway, Jules, who is way older than moi, taught me everything I know, streetwise. To show my appreciation, I command The Lady With the Red Hair to open a fresh tin of tuna-in-oil exclusively for Jules. Open one for me, while you're at it. Eating meeses frankly stinks; they don't taste like chicken, let me assure you.
Scowl-Face has an amazing story about Jack, a legendary family feline, and a meese. Ordinarily, Scowly's prose gives me a stiff pain in my neck, just below my cauliflower ear (rub my neck, willya?), but this story is profound and moving. There's a good book trailer to watch, too, featuring The Music Man's excellent music as soundtrack.
Thanks, Jules, and All of My Great Teachers,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
School is Cool News Beat
P.S. Some of you who were teenagers during the 1970s may remember "Teacher, I Need You," by Elton John, from his album Don't Shoot Me (I'm Only the Piano Player) (1973). I guarantee that every human girl-liking guy who ever had an attractive female teacher can identify with this song--some more than others. But we won't name names, Scowl-Face.