I tore into the envelope and yanked the paper from its sleeve. I was clutching a Christmas gift from a student; now all that remained was to determine the type of gift certificate and the dollar amount. Sure, teaching has its own rewards and nothing makes me happier than to see a child finally learn how to craft a thesis statement or add fifteen points to a test; but given the number of times I pull a 60 hour week, watch a student pick his nose in class, or feel the droplets of a sneeze from a flu-infested child standing a mere 22 inches away, the gift cards at Christmas time are darn nice, too. So I scanned the writing on the page to determine which Japanese steakhouse would receive my patronage over the holidays and discovered that it wasn’t a gift card after all. It was a dedication announcement.
“What’d you get?” Deidre asked as she walked into my classroom.
“I’m a part of some heifer club.”
“Jessie has donated an animal in my name to some village in another part of the world.” I continued to scan the information sheet. “It seems there’s now a goat out there with my name on it, feeding a small tribal group in some remote area. Huh.” I pulled a brochure from the package and started leafing through the pages.
“It sounds right up your alley.”
“It really is. After those years overseas when I lived next to that family that couldn’t even feed their 9 children, I like the sound of this. Just think, because of me, children will now have cheese and milk.”
“You mean because of your student.”
“Hey, it’s my gift; it’s my goat. Go get your own heifer.”
“Only in South Georgia does that command sound logical. Enjoy your goat,” she said and strolled out.
I’ll admit, a quadruped wasn’t on my Christmas list, but it is a gift that keeps on giving.
© 2013 – Traci Carver