What I loved most about him was his humor. He had a sarcastic whit that caught me off guard and kept me thinking (I don't really get sarcasm from others, so I did a lot of thinking). It was so unexpected in the world of primary teachers! I often told him that he reminded me of my father - at which, he would become a little riled and state that he was no where near the age of my father. The funny thing was that he was born in the same year.
When I left the district he was in, I was saddened to leave my good friends and even commenced to roast this gentleman and another teacher. I spent weeks planning what I would say and tried to keep a straight face. I will never forget the way he lounged in a school chair - as best as be can - and laughed hysterically. After a really bad year at my new school, he was the one to call me and give me advice when I spilled about my bad experience. He was there to subtlety tell me that I was making a good choice in leaving and to come home to my previous school if there were openings. I ended up finding another position before any openings became available. But often thought that I should have just returned to the school I thought of as home.
I'm not sure why I felt the need to write about this. Perhaps it was to share how short life is or how the small things can make an impact, or perhaps it was to merely write it down. I was struck by the fact that services will be this Sunday and I anticipate, that when I go, the tears will flow and I will see many old friends. Teaching isn't about the job, it's about the people.
When I left that district, this man gave me a card and it had a picture of Eisenstein in it. I have not found it yet to retread the quote he wrote, but it was one that I kept in my journal for several years and would look at occasionally. The picture was an appropriate one because, while teaching takes intelligence and is serious business, it is also a profession where you have to remember the silly times!
So, here's to my friend. I will remember the impact he made in my life.
P.S. Another thing I learned from my friend - never be afraid to wear pastel plaid - even in a fabulous pair of dress pants!