St Anthony’s Dance

My usual routine at the pool….. I have learned to go early. If I go on time, the previous class has filled all the dressing rooms and by the time I get changed, I miss half my pool time. So I go early. The rule is, if early and there are no more than ten in the pool, you can get in and sit on the benches at the end of the pool to wait. It is easy to do some exercises there so that is my routine, and a couple of others as well.
Today I was sitting there when a participant from the early group came and sat next to me. She was crying. I tried to comfort her. “I am in such pain,” she tells me. She wears a pain patch on her back and tells me what else she takes for the pain. She says, at 86, her doctors say she is too old for a hip replacement.
Slowly she stops crying and tells me of the retirement home where she lives, of her family, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and…I think… great-greats. She says it doesn’t hurt to sit and that she uses a walker all the time. She could use a wheelchair but says she won’t until it is impossible to walk. Then she tells me she is a lot better off than many at her retirement home.
She went on to tell me that she’d had trouble that morning looking for her glasses prescription. So I told her my story of lost things:

I taught at a small school in Florida with open classrooms. There were room dividers the kids could not see over but an adult could. There was a hall way between the dividers and you could hear what was going on in all the classrooms from kindergarten to grade four.
As a side story, we were told we had to have spelling tests every Friday. Noah’s desk was on the end facing the hallway and every Friday he presented me with a very creative spelling test. There were the words we were working on, and the second grade words and sometimes the fourth grade words. I guess he would not have had to work next year to learn the 4th grade spelling words. He had already been tested.
The routine at this school was to provide written reports on all subjects to the parents, not just grades. I would spend a weekend writing and thinking about my students. I never had more than 15 kids, so it wasn’t really a horrendous task. I would far prefer writing about a kid than assigning a grade for a subject so I was happy to do this.
The day they were due to the lower school Head, I arrived, reports in hand, and left them on my desk to turn in later in the day. The school day went on as usual and when the kids left, the reports were gone. I looked everywhere. And yes, I searched the desk everywhere. Panic set it. I would have to write them all over again.
The 2nd grade teacher came in to chat and I told her of my problem. “Oh,” said Sue, in her wonderful Maine accent, “You need to do Saint Anthony’s dance.”  She proceeded to dance around the room, two fingers in the air, singing a song about Saint Anthony. I am not a Catholic and didn’t know about the Saint for lost things, but I joined her in this silly dance because what else could I do? We stopped. I looked on my desk once again and there were the reports. I know she had not taken them and no one else had come into the room … so it figures Saint Anthony did his thing.
Last year, my granddaughter, Lucy, age 6, lost her blankie and was in a state of panic. She ran around in circles crying and looking somewhat senselessly for it. I stopped her and told her about Saint Anthony. We danced around with fingers in the air begging for the blankie, giggling and singing any thing we wanted, and slowly re-entered the living room. There was the blankie. I have heard she used this another time. I guess it is better than screaming and crying.

I can just see my pool friend hobbling around her room with her walker and singing a song. I hope she finds her prescription . (another slice of my retired life – see more slices at Two Writing Teachers link)

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2 Responses to St Anthony’s Dance

  1. LisaC says:

    What a fabulous story! Much better than getting all in a panic like I do when I have lost things.

  2. Stacey says:

    I hope she finds it too. And, I hope that she feels some relief soon as well.

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