Columns & Editorials

How Much Longer in Limbo?

How Much Longer in Limbo?

Having left the public school system before the arrival of COVID-19 and the subsequent school closures that followed, I am very interested in the progress of our nation’s public schools. My interest is primarily focused on trends and practices that directly impact instruction and student achievement, and education data that reveals how current practices are helping or hindering our students’ social and academic growth.

Taking Control of Bullying

Taking Control of Bullying

I am in a neighborhood group on social media comprised of parents of students in the district and on the campus where I once worked. A few days ago, I encountered several parents voicing their concerns and complaints about the pervasive bullying that is allegedly happening within the district and on my former campus. I was saddened, though not surprised, to hear complaints of the escalating problem of bullying. While I worked in the district, bullying was alleged to be a common problem on several campuses, including mine.

Tapestry
Tapestry

Tapestry

I remember it well. We were standing in our living room. I was, maybe, 5 years old. It was a Saturday around 4. I can say this with certainty because I vividly recall what was playing on the television. See, Saturday afternoons were for country music programming when I was a child in the 70s. There was The Lawrence Welk Show. There was the Porter Waggoner Show. The end all be all was Hee Haw, which came on at prime time. But, before all of this, there was a guy broadcasting from Athens, TX, who would entertain the Dallas world for a full hour, cloaked in sequins and roses. It was Cowboy Weaver and the Sunset Ranch. That’s how I know exactly where I was the day my father introduced me to his favorite record album, which had nothing to do with Mr. Weaver, incidentally. My dad wasn’t even that crazy about the Cowboy, but sometimes he would feature Dewey Grooms, live from the Longhorn Ballroom. Ted was very fond of Dewey Grooms. But, back to the album. My father, per Ancestry, turned out to be mainly British and Welsh, but he spoke Spanish. He looked a little Hispanic. As an adult, I would come to realize this non-dominant dialect of his was mainly Spanish slang, but the way he could manipulate the unfamiliar sounds was magical to a little girl. So much so, that I developed my own faux Spanish gibberish (face palm). Since my father’s attempts to explain offensive behaviors fell on tiny, stubborn ears, his next strategy was to show me what real Spanish sounded like. Enter Vicki Carr, El Paso born, Grammy winning, brilliant vocalist of Mexican ancestry. In an era where record execs wouldn’t push Latin music – wouldn’t sell, they said – Vicki Carr (Florencia Bisenta de Casillas-Martinez Cardona) proved them wrong. She was Dad’s favorite. Once I heard her beautiful voice, I stopped speaking fake Spanish. Good lookin’ out, Dad. And, this, folks, is the imagery I chose to introduce this week’s topic. Music is, truly, the tapestry of our lives. Music teaches. Straight out of the womb, we’re immersed into a world of melodies. From the oddly macabre “Rock-A-Bye-Baby” lyrics (thought to be a death wish directed toward the son of King James II when, after his conversion to Catholicism, the people feared he was planning to force a new religion in England) to chants about spiders getting washed out of their cozy spout homes to my grandmother’s favorite ditty about riding a horse to a plum orchard (Granberry Crossing? Cranberry?) where the plum crop was decimated and the child ultimately falls off of the pony on the way home, we musically indoctrinate upon entry into this world. Personally, I had different go to songs for each of my children. For my eldest, Dillan, with his blue eyes that were a shocking surprise to me, but that his brown eyed brother’s children both inherited, I softly sang Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A- Gonna Fall” to rock him to sleep. When middle kiddo Daniel was born, I seamlessly switched over to Elton John’s “Daniel.” And, with my 3rd child, the precious little princess, I was in my wistful activist/ Sinead O’Connor phase. To sweet Chynna, I sang “Three Babies,” which remains on my list of songs I want at my own memorial. I often poll my children for column statistics. One daughter-in-law preferred rocking the babes sans vocals. Ear to momma’s heartbeat turned out to be the musical soother of choice. The other daughter-in-law cares for nieces on a daily basis and tends to use the old “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” seasoned with the occasional DMX “For My Dogs.” I’m sure the acapella version is soothing. My grandchildren, when rocked by me, have both been subjected to my slightly off-key version of “Baby Mine,” from Dumbo. Because, when a kid has hurt feelings, what else is there to do besides seek comfort in your grandmother? The verse “If they knew sweet little you/They’d end up loving you too/All those people who scold you/What they’d give just for the right to hold you” makes me tear up every time. Music heals.

Laymen’s Corner

Christians may face some hard tests in the near future. None of us have been tested to the point of pain or loss of all we have. I believe GOD knows what He has to do to prepare His people for the things that must come before the end comes and the rapture of the Church. It does not matter what comes, Christians will need faith to stand all tests and glorify our God. I have already seen signs that people are turning against the Church and wish all the Churches would close. Some say that the Devil is preparing people for the Anti Christ and GOD is preparing Christians for the rapture.

Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground
Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground

Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground

We at the Forney Messenger try to write in a professional manner. I’m laughing under my breath as I type these words. I try. Really, I do, aiming to always be 3-4 weeks ahead with my columns. Yet, as with all things in life, sometimes I’m the absolute best. Sometimes, I suck. Here I sit, snuggled up tight to a deadline for a 5/6 column that can only be about one thing: 5/9, Mother’s Day. How simple, you might think. Just phone it in, you might mutter. After all, I’m a mom who’s fortunate enough to still have a mom. But, I’ve struggled all week with this topic. Moments ago, heralded in deep chested dog barks and a stampede of furry paws, the Amazon truck pulled up to make a Sunday delivery. 30 seconds of elation over the adult version of Santa Clause – what did they bring me – was quickly followed by the realization of what will be in the package. Suddenly, I understand why this column is so difficult to conceive. See, Monday is a special day, too. If my daughter were alive, she’d turn 30. The package on my porch is a box of 30th birthday decorations for the cemetery. I can’t write about Mother’s Day because I’m only ¾ of the mother I’m supposed to be.

Three Rights Make a Left

Three Rights Make a Left

After a couple of failed attempts to retire, I finally gave in. For the last few months, I sat at my desk at home looking at three computer screens all day long every day. My desk at home looked like a desk at NASA instead of FEMA as I reviewed CO- VID-19 applications and attended online meetings all day long every day. I found that like many of you I was spending all day looking forward to quitting time. I spent all week looking forward to Friday and I spent all weekend dreading Monday morning. I finally realized that I was spending all of my time looking forward to time off when I could have that all of the time.

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