Remarkable Matt Graduates

Hey Matthew Tague,

Since I didn’t know exactly when your graduation is scheduled to not happen, I wrote this just to remind you of how much you are admired and to offer my congratulations on your many achievements!
However, now that I know you DID get to graduate, I send my heartfelt congratulations, knowing you’ll navigate a fine future for yourself!!

Born in the summer, so tiny to hold. Never could I have imagined he’d grow so smart and bold.
When he was only seven he arm-wrestled Grandpa Mac. Pretty soon Matt pushed his arm right down with a victory smack!

One year Hurricane Matthew was heading for my home. Matt called and said he was on his way.
Then I said if he did there’d be the devil to pay. We got lucky and that Matthew went away:-)

Another year he was a chef—reminded me of young Jeff.
Matt designed several kinds of pickles. Wham! So I dubbed him The Pickle Man!

He drove off the squirrels who stole fruit from the trees.
Knocked those buggers right out of their mischief if you please.

He’s a first-rate athlete, could accomplish any feat.
In football made the papers, even did pole vaulting capers.

Fish, hunt, you name it, he did it. Outside he was skillful, and inside too.
He’d give you a run for your money on any board game.

2020 came around which couldn’t help but make us all frown.
This young Tague didn’t deserve a plague, yet you’re moving on and making history.

I know you’ll write your own script and beat your own drum—can’t say this year was ho hum.
You’ll handle what comes with fun and finesse. I honor you, and send my love.

All the best to the new graduate, Mr. Matt Tague:-) from GWOTG

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Tell Me a Story of Hope

As I watched the news this morning, this fell out of my heart:

Tell Me A Story of Hope

I see the crowd in chaos. Then they sit. Eventually moments of quiet began to roll around.
Someone speaks and several listen. Some weep, some yell, some cry out in pain and grievance.

A good leader hugs, listens, kneels, and shares their tears and anger.

Later the group listens. . .at various places over our beloved but misguided country…

I hear a song–it spreads. No hurry. Supposed enemies join in. They bathe in the strains of promise and little smatterings of hope.

Conversations begin to move from pain and problems to peace with possibilities, then to ideas and commitments.

As a long time teacher, I see a crowd, a people, saying: Feel my pain, listen to me, walk with me, help us make a better day, a better place.

Show me democracy with respect for the citizenry.

Stand in OUR truth while forging a picture that includes ALL, as each person is a gem in the portrait of Hope for America!

by Hildra Tague

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Meditation: Living on the Brink

The coronavirus epidemic and other life urgencies have got me to thinking.

It looks like we’re living on the brink. In recent years we all wondered if we were on the brink of . . .

war
recession
terrorism
hate crimes
prejudice
and just lack of civility and manners in general!

In current times we are inundated with all the brinks we’re living on the edge of. It’s hard to find calmness or hope on the TV, web, or other media, or even in conversations with friends. Anxiety is on the rise.

Yet if we look at life’s canvass there is hope all around us, lurking around here and there. It is trying to remind us all is not lost.

Sure, making plans and even back-up plans is appropriate. We shouldn’t just throw our hands up in the air. But we could benefit from holding still a moment and noticing that we are here right now.

Maybe if we slow down for a moment we might notice:

We are alive.
The sun keeps showing up every day, and nature’s hanging in there.
We have made it this far.
We can still count many blessings in the here and now.

Yup, we really are living on the brink of. . .

The fill in the blank may not be up to us: viruses, sickness, loss, wars, bitterness, prejudice, etc. Yet we so have some choices. We have a large say in how we guide our landing on this runway of truth and realities.

We can weep, bemoan, blame, and rage as we watch to see how far that gets us. We have folks doing that on the airwaves every day.

Or we could accept that we are on the brink, proactively do what must be done, then make some popcorn and enjoy another day of life on the brink.

There is a word for that state of mind: peace. If you can’t make it happen everywhere, own it in your own life. Who knows? I’ve noticed that peace and kindness are almost as contagious as disease and pestilence.

So, as we live yet one more day in all this confusion, let us choose to live on the brink of peace. Hey, pass me some of that popcorn:-)

___________________

Copyright 2020 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

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Meditations: My Measured Life

As I grow older, in my alone moments I notice I catch wisps of songs blipping through my brain–or mouth, as the case may be.

At odd and sundry times I’ve considered whether I should find the rest of the actual lyrics to the songs–maybe. I wondered if I should be singing the “right” words.

But I have come to the conclusion that those musical and/or lyrical wisps are enough for now.  I do enjoy these as they travel through my mouth, and my life. I don’t actually have to know the words since an uplifting tune lifts my spirits and that’s just fine for me.

At certain moments I make up my own words to fit my life. It works for me.

And a passionate song speaks to my personal passions (which I’ve discovered can be completely different from the songwriters’ ideas. So I journey on, humming as I go and sometimes even skipping or dancing along with the beat.

I decided that sometimes a taste or two can be almost as good as the whole dish, so I belt out small snippets I remember and/or care about.

So I adjust the way I measure my life as the years go by. I have learned in my aging to measure my life by my current standards and needs, not the ideals or goals or trends of others.

Perhaps it’s suitable to loosen our criteria at each step of life’s passages, measuring one’s life differently when different situations arise as the years go by.  Yes, perhaps there was a time when things were different, but I’m in the NOW for today. So I’ll measure my day by looser guides…

‘Cause isn’t music basically a freestyle dance floor where we can dance to our own drummer?


Copyright 2020 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use in print or online.

 

 

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Of These My Children: Beware of the Undertoad!

I love going to school each day. I love seeing my friends, learning new things, and even lunch and recess with my students.

One gal pranced in full of energy saying, “My mom said she was lousy, so she was going back to bed once she got back home. Possibilities thundered through my head till I realized one goes to bed when drowsy!

In Science we learned about volcanoes and earthquakes. An eager little lady said her grandma told her about the San Franscisco earthquake. Everyone ran outside in their night sounds. I guess kids nowadays don’t talk much about night gowns!

Social Studies words can be challenging for even the smartest of students. We learned that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Constipation! Maybe the young scholar was referring to the hundred or so years it took for that PROCLAMATION to wholly take effect. One could say the actual emancipation moved way too slowly through the bowels of our culture.

Lunch time is not just a good break but it can show teachers what to teach next. A kid saw his mom’s phone bill the night before and told us she pushed the Autopsy button to get it paid on time. Maybe tomorrow we’ll study words that begin with auto–like automobile, automatic, and autopay. Maybe we could perform an autopsy on those words while we’re at it.

We find out so much about each other during our time at the picnic table under the sweet gum tree. One gal was mystified that her aunt was so happy to be getting a “grammar shot”. She had even laid out some special clothes just for that. The young lady simply couldn’t understand since we don’t wear fancy clothes when we have grammar class. I guess her aunt just likes the idea of glamour…

Then a boy piped up to tell us his uncle has an “autistic guitar that sounds really cool.” The next day in music class we talked about acoustics, looked at the soundproofing tiles on the ceiling at the library, and even made various sounds to get a feel for the acoustics of the room. It was fun.

Another fellow said he always had a good time when he and his “knuckle” go to eat at the “Awful House.” When I travel down south I always stop at a Waffle House.

Any kid will tell you that recess is the best part of the day. Soon after the students bolted to the playground, a gal came up to me saying, “I feel Disney!” My mind suddenly veered off into a possible hit song: Feeling a Little Disney…but as I looked at her face I realized she needed to sit down. We got her a drink and stopped her mad dashing around for a while, and before long she was fine. But I was a bit dizzy from all the dither.

I make huge efforts towards motivating my children for math since a good number of them resist the appeal of numbers. One day we were continuing to work on the sequence involved in long division. Before doing any paperwork, we went through a verbal practice session which usually drew the students into the rap-style reciting of the steps needed to make division happen. They all chimed in as we said: “What times what is ‘write it down and distract.'” My brain did a bit of a flip flop as I processed what I heard, then I repeat using the math word SUBTRACT. Wow, I guess they’d all be good a distraction! No practice needed for that.

As the weekend was upon us, one guy informed us his family was going to the beach. A gal who knew a lot about the seaside said, “Have fun, but watch out for the Undertoad! My dad almost got taken away by it last summer.” I realized I should be planning a lesson on the ocean and movements of water and the undertow, but decided to think about that later…

Maybe I’ll just grab a lawn chair and some iced tea and read a good book in the back yard this weekend. Then I’ll be safe from the Undertoad for sure.

Copyright 2020 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

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Meditations: Happy Till Proven Otherwise

The past few years I have been inundated with the aggravations of politics and daily news–enough to knock the hope out of you! On top of that, 15 years of caregiving has at times left me breathless and just worn plum out, in both body and soul.

Once I remarked to a friend, “These years have taught me how to laugh and cry at the same time.”

Here’s the math of it: Life may present with seemingly impossible challenges, but as soon as you open your eyes–after dodging the onslaught, you may find there are choices.

I choose health.
I choose humor.
I choose hope.
I choose helping others and myself.
I choose peace and happiness.

May sound simple but it isn’t. However, practice helps, and forgiving myself as I go along.

I have decided to dedicate the moments between moans of life’s labor pains to being happy till proven otherwise!

___________________

Copyright 2020 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.

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Pumpkin Carols for Treeland School at YouTube

Here are some songs I’ve done with students for many years. I don’t know where some came from. I’ve edited them over the years to register MILD on my Scare Meter. I used Halloween as a time to enjoy the fall, learn a bit about fear, and enjoy reading lyrics instead of the usual activities. (I call them Pumpkin Carols but did not include the ones Hallmark put in a card one year–cards which were enjoyed by many kids all over.)

SING IN HONOR OF THE GREAT PUMPKIN.
Imagine yourself with Charlie Brown in the Pumpkin Patch and be sincere.

FALL

I like the fall, the trees and all. Hear the wind call. I like the fall.

 

A HAUNTING WE WILL GO

A haunting we will go. A haunting we will go.

Boo! Watch out for goblins, A haunting we will go.

A haunting we will go. A haunting we will go.

They’ll eat all your candy up! A haunting we will go.

A haunting we will go.  A haunting we will go.

So blame it on the goblins. A haunting we will go!

 

OH, IT’S HALLOWEEN (tune: The Miffin Man)

Oh, do you know it’s Halloween, it’s Halloween, it’s Halloween.

Oh do you know it’s Halloween, it’s Halloween tonight.

Oh, we will make a pumpkin face, a pumpkin face, a pumpkin face.

Oh we will make a pumpkin face, and give ourselves a fright.

 

We’ll listen to the cat’s meow, the cat’s meow, the cat’s meow.

Well listen to the cat’s meow all through the night.

We’ll see some silly costumes, we’ll see some silly costumes.

We’ll see some silly costumes in the pale moonlight.

 

We’ll laugh to see the goblins dance, we’ll laugh to see the goblins dance.

We’ll laugh to see the goblins dance whirling with delight.

We’ll watch the ghosts flit all about, we’ll watch the ghosts flit all about.

We’ll watch the ghosts flit all about, kids all dressed in white.

 

Oh, I’m glad it’s fall and Halloween, I’m glad it’s fall and Halloween.

I’m glad it’s fall and Halloween, we’ll have such fun tonight!

 

SCARECROW

Scarecrow, scarecrow, turn around. Scarecrow, scarecrow, jump up and down.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, arms ups high. Scarecrow, scarecrow, wink one eye.

Scarecrow, scarecrow, time for bed. Scarecrow, scarecrow, rest your head.

 

WE’RE THE SCARECROWS (tune: Sing a Song of Sixpence)
We’re the farmer’s scarecrows. We scare away the birds.
We keep the farmer’s corn safe without any words.

But when Halloween comes we stand there on the ground
We scare the boys and girls when they come around. Boo!

TWO HALLOWEEN OWLS (TUNE: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)

Two Halloween owls looking at you. One’s named Boo, one’s named Whoo.
Hi there Boo. Who are you? You say Whoo, and I do too.
Two Halloween owls looking at you. One’s named Boo, one’s named Whoo.

WHERE IS PUMPKIN? (Tune: Where is Thumbkin?)
Where is pumpkin, where is pumpkin? Here I am, here I am.
How are you today sir? Very well, I thank you.
Run away, run away…

JACK-O-LANTERN (Tune: Davy Crockett)

Born in the pumpkin patch in a backyard where Mr. Scarecrow stands on guard.
Raised in the garden where he knew every weed.
Before he was a pumpkin he was a pumpkin seed.
Jack-O, Jack O’Lantern. King of Halloween Night!

WE’RE SCARY SKELETONS (TUNE: Farmer in the Dell)

We’re scary skeletons. We’re scary skeletons.
Clickety clack, we’ve got boney backs. We’re scary skeletons.

HALLOWEEN

Ghosts and goblins all about. Trick or treat we sing and shout.
Halloween, Halloween. Such a spooky time.

See the weird stuff going by, in a dark and gloomy sky.
Halloween, Halloween. Playing and having a good time.

SPOOKY THINGS ARE HAPPENING

There’s something moaning in the old oak tree x 2
But I’m not scared for I’m safe inside. I’m not scared but I think I’ll hide.

There’s something sitting on the porch out there . x 2
But I’m not scared for I’m safe inside. I’m not scared, but I just might hide.

There’s something sitting on the fence out there. x 2
But I’m not scared for I’m safe inside. I’m not scared, but I just may hide.

There’s something flying on a broom up high. x 2
But I’m not scared for I’m safe inside. I’m not scared, but I think I’ll hide.

HALLOWEEN (Tune: Yankee Doodle)

Oh, once in every jolly year there comes a time for fun!
Now’s the time we love so well, for Halloween’s begun.

CHORUS:
Goblins, goblins in the air, goblins booing everywhere.
Up and down and all around, is that one over there?

Oh jolly people all are we with lots of fun and laughter.
There’s always seen on Halloween, putting costumes up right after.

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Of These My Children: His Only Forgotten Son

My role as a teacher over the years has allowed me a peek into the integrity and character of many of my students.  Children tend to have a clear-eyed look at their realities, even while they are learning the proper words for those realities.

Monday mornings sometimes require a little settling into classroom learning activities after busy weekends so fresh on the kids’ minds.

One guy rushed in to say, “There was a person rescued from a business fire yesterday!” 

Before I could hit the starter on my mouth another student spoke up. My mom said it was a fire that meant business.” 

Wow, now I had to explain the fire was AT a business and was a serious one (i.e. meant business).  A teacher’s work is never done, sometimes not even started before things get complicated.

Looked like that day was calling for vocabulary work and so early in the morning. I grabbed another cup of coffee and dove in.

Later in the morning we were reading a play. Many students love to be in charge. One smart girl piped up, “I want to be the near rater!” Others corrected her by hollering narrator but I let her have the job anyway. I hoped she’d see the word often enough to get it clearly established in her fine mind. (To help it along, I said “narrator” every time it was her turn to talk…)

Lunch brings stories from the homes and neighborhoods. A boy was horrified at the movie he and his uncle saw about a poultry heist. He said he couldn’t look at some of it so he went to the rest room to kill time. (Guess in that case it really was a REST room!)

Once he said it was scary I realized chickens were not involved. So we talked about that hard word poltergeist. I saved heist for another day. Besides that I doubted the kids would need to know about a poultry heist in their lifetimes!

After lunch we had Social Studies. Once a week we discuss current events. A girl said her parents “watched a real important dysentary on TV last night.” No one seemed to be coming down with something so I decided to introduce the word dignitary into our vocabulary list for the week.

When I said the root word was dignity a sharp scholar spoke up with “Does that mean they are always dignified?!!” I choked a bit and moved on.

Children seem to have their own way of expressing themselves. A speech therapist was returning her small group of students (after their lesson) to their respective rooms. An eager gy helpfully said, “Let’s put her up first.” clarifying that gal’s room was the closest. No comment.

Afternoons can seem long to students and teachers alike. One boy looked up from deep concentration as I walked by. He mourned, “I need a headache.” I reminded him it was almost recess time, and had him take a short break. Then I continued, “If you still have a headache when you get home tell your mom. He said, “She’ll give me an aspen.”  I just didn’t have the heart to get caught up in trees and headache remedies!

History class is always an adventure into the inner recesses of the mind and experience of a child. We were learning about the Constitution. One gal read, “Secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our first lady.”  I coughed greatly and bravely lapsed into an impromptu lesson on posterity!

After recess the kids had basically checked out for the day. Only one more issue had to be dealt with. A boy asked me as we came back into the classroom why was Jesus called the only forgotten son.  He said he just couldn’t understand why anyone would forget their own son, especially God! So I had a chance to do one more bit of vocabulary teaching, commenting afterwards how much begotten and forgotten sounded alike. Next week we may discuss ancestry and draw family trees saying who begat whom. But I’ll need to rest up before tackling that!

We sang songs and drew pictures of things we’d been studying. We were all kinda relieved when the cars began pulling up to pick up weary children.

As for me I rushed to have a sit down snack cause I wouldn’t want to need a headache.

Copyright 2019 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use in print or online.

 

 

 

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Honeysuckle Air: Dedication, Epilogue and End Page

-DEDICATION

  • to my two sons and their wonderful families–where I have found love and support across the years.
  • to my late brother, Orman Earl and my late sister Marjory Carol, who gave me a sense of family with our little trio of blue-eyed siblings.
  • to Bob Danzig, a world-class writer and speaker who served as CEO of Hearst Enterprises, and provided inspiration and encouragement in this project and in this phase of my long and lovely life…

 

 

EPILOGUE (needs to have a bucket drawn around this to indicate Bucket List)

My Do List for My Next 75 Years is to finish and publish these ongoing book projects:

_____ Honeysuckle Air: My First 75 Years

______Just Get Me Through the Year (a psychoeducational book for parents and teachers)

______ My Roller Coaster of Caregiving

______ inFamous Sayings Of These My Children (nostalgic humor straight from the mouths of children)

______ Blood and Sunshine: A Grief Tearbook with sprinkles of hope

______ Holiday Sparkles

______ Meditations, Presentations, Sermons and Songs

______ Treeland School: Videos of chats, songs and stories, mostly by me and some by others

______ I Used to Cookbook: written originally for my 2 sons, and added to as life went on

 

Guess I’d better get busy!

 

END PAGE

Stay Tuned

In life one lesson we all need to remember is Stay Tuned.

When things are bad, stay tuned.

When things are good, stay tuned.

——–

Stir up something interesting while you stay tuned.

——–

If you start to get the big head, stay tuned.

If you are discouraged and see no hope, stay tuned.

——–

Let Staying Tuned be the background music of your life. Always stay open to what’s next.

Hold on to your life and just Stay Tuned:-)

WAIT — THERE’S MORE!

My full measure of devotion is not used up yet! Tomorrow I will . . .

Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain author’s permission for use online or in print.

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Of These My Children: Divine Revolution

My life as a teacher has been blessed with my students over many years. They show me kindness, healing and nurturing and sometimes even some new words.

Mondays bring reports of their family’s weekend activities. One gal said, “Our church believes in Diving Revolution. My mom told me.”  It’s like getting inspired from God. A boy added, “Guess it’s like the Revolutionary War. They were inspired to start our country.”  Dear Lord, I need some of that Divine Revelation to handle this vocabulary emergency. And you thought teaching was easy, eh?

The class was enjoying our reading unit where they were learning about history, places, and unusual words. One little scholar read aloud, “in 1870 Butterball was an important meat on the plains.” Thank goodness I had a piece of buffalo hide to show them as I changed the conversation to “where the buffalo roam.” Must be time to learn Home on the Range!

Another reading assignment was about dinosaurs and was, in the words of my student, “in the Prehistoric Period called the Ass Age.”  My students had always claimed I was “rated G” so I blocked my ears and quickly cooled things off with explanation of the word Ice. 

In History class the children were fascinated by Stone Age, the place where there were statues which helped them study the sun. When I declared it was actually Stonehenge, a couple of them argued with me since they were certain they had heard of the Stone Age. What a tangled web we weave when at first we practice to teach!

Something we read reminded a guy of a movie he and his uncle saw recently. He declared it was “something about poultry.”  When I inquired further he said, “Poultry Geist, or maybe it was Poultry heist.” That took more than a few minutes to sort that out, ending in my having to explain poltergeist.

At lunch I was told by a little scholar, “My dad and mom were talking. He asked her if she wanted to see his female!” I thought that sounded inappropriate. I didn’t know what to do! The next few moments were filled with a discussion of words that sound alike. When the kiddoes went home I sent the mom an email so she’d know what her loving child was thinking.

Children sometimes attend meetings with their parents which are aimed at adults. One boy explained that he went with his parents and at the end someone stood up and said, “Thanks for preventing this event.” This fine young man said it just didn’t make any sense. He was so relieved when I explained it meant presenting this event!

That day’s lunch was topped off with a gal telling us all about her neighbor: “She’s a persecuting attorney so she can really be tough.  It broke my heart to tell her all about prosecuting but at least she went home feeling a little safer, since the lawyer only persecuted bad guys!

Afternoons can seem long even though they are short by the clock. One gal was just wearing out when she told me, “I’m getting infused.” I didn’t see any drug or medical apparatus around, so I decided it was time to break a bit early for recess before anyone else got confused!

Math class lends itself to finding answers, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Our classroom math whiz opened his mouth even before his hand shot up with, “Do we get to start with that Metal Math Warmup again today?” I took a glance around and only saw wooden desks so I told him when we warm up with numbers flying around in our brains, that was called Mental Math. I’m not sure he noticed but we went mental anyway.

Then we began a geometry lesson on symmetry.  I clarified the hanging from Japan on our wall didn’t have symmetry since onside wasn’t like the other.  A girl was dripping with concern as she bemoaned, “But where do their dead people sleep?!!!”  Suddenly it felt like time for Art and we made pictures showing symmetry. The students drew faces, trees, and even some letters of the alphabet. They had fun discovering our bodies are symmetrical!  Then I wrote cemetery on the board and everyone made a cemetery picture. We decided one was enough and we’d do more of that at Halloween, or Day of the Dead.

Thank goodness the bell rang and we could put this day to an end.  As I told the students bye for the day I sat down with a snack pining for some of that Divine Revolution!

 

Copyright 2019 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use in print or online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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