October 18 – Yes, I think that teaching is the most rewarding of all callings, and I never know where I will find one of “my kids.” A few weeks ago, we attended a wedding in Lee’s Summit. When we walked into the lobby of the building, we saw folks, young and old, talking and laughing, and having a good time renewing old friendships What about us? We knew the bride and her immediate family, and that was all! Ashley had become a beautiful young woman, with her smile and kindness showing on her face. I remembered lots of hours spent going through her math assignments as I tutored her through fifth grade.
Since the wedding would be outside, with attendees sitting on covered hay bales, we waited for the doors to the outside to be opened. As we sat at a table by ourselves, I happened to look across the room, to see a teenager, all dressed up in a white shirt and dark pants, with a mischievous grin, waiting as well. I asked Dale to look at the boy as I said, “He sure does look familiar, but I know so many kids, I can’t be sure.”
OK, time to move outside. As we made our way to the doors, the “familiar” young man moved towards us and said, “Hello, Mrs. Fairchild. Remember me?” Sure I remembered him, but not his name! “I’ll usher you out so you can get a good seat,” he offered. As we read through the wedding program, I found that he was related to the groom, of all things. Although Joey had grown up a lot in the last few years, he still had his winning smile, and I was so glad to see him again.
Sometime ago, when Dale had to have some tests done at the hospital, he pulled into a parking space not too far from the entrance. Just as we got out of the truck, a big van pulled out of a parking space and moved on past us. I don’t remember the kind of van or anything else except the voice I heard from a young girl who was waving her hand frantically and calling, “Mrs. Fairchild, Hi, Mrs. Fairchild!” Not too long ago, or so it seemed, she was moving around the school on crutches, not letting such bad fortune bother her!
I remember another time with Harvesters, along with other things an experience that brings tears to my eyes, but not tears of sadness. When I carried the potatoes to one car to be deposited in the back seat, an older lady in the front seat turned around and said, “My son is sick today and couldn’t bring me, so my grandson is doing the driving and brought me here.
Well, I thought that was neat, so I reached over and tapped the grandson on the shoulder while saying, “Good boy, Mr. Grandson. You must be a real help to your grandma.” So quickly did he turn around in that front seat so he could see me behind him, that I was surprised. Surprise turned to shock, as I saw that young man’s face! “Mrs. Fairchild,” he said, “it really IS you! I recognized your voice!”
As Grandma looked on in amazement, I hurried to the front door and hugged him repeatedly. I don’t know who hugged the most or who was more pleased, but when he said, “You really made my day! You made my day!” I knew that I had been blessed. After he explained to his grandmother that I had worked with him from about second grade on during my days of volunteering at a school, I reminded him of the promise he had made to me through the years. He would study hard and graduate and make something of himself. “Remember you first started helping me out back in 1998,” he said, “and I will never forget!” Well, I’ll tell you, that was one of the best days of helping with Harvesters!
When I started reminiscing about my years of teaching, I surely didn’t plan on staying with the story for this long! Good thing I decided halfway through, that I wouldn’t mention more than a couple of the kids I had learned to love through the years. But, as I have said before, now that I can look back on both the beginning and the ending of my teaching career, I would choose that work without a single doubt! The rewards are many and more than satisfying. – CHRIS