I'm sure everyone is familiar with the story of the boy who cried wolf: A young man was given the task of watching the sheep outside of a particular town. He got bored with the whole proposition and decided to generate a little excitement. He went running into town claiming that wolves were attacking the flock. Everybody came running, armed with pitchforks and axes and all manner of weapons, only to discover that there were no wolves.
The boy got a kick out of it and did it a couple more times. He eventually tried it one time too many and nobody came to his rescue and the young man was eaten. They don't tell kids' stories like those anymore. Too violent.
Now I told you that to tell you this.
My Tuesday got off to a terrible start. I had been feeling bad for a week and could barely answer the gong when my alarm went off Tuesday morning. I did manage to down a cup of coffee but didn't even attempt to work the morning crossword -- and Tuesday's is the second easiest of the week.
Remember that poem that begins, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ... " That's the way I felt when I got to school. I needed to run off some materials and couldn't get the copier to work. I spilled coffee all over my lesson plans.
OK. I spilled coffee on my notes. Honesty compels me to admit that I haven't used lesson plans since the early '90s, but please don't tell Rich Autry. OK. OK. Everybody knows I haven't used notes since before I used lesson plans. I spilled the coffee on the sports page.
We had a lot of teachers away from the building at training seminars Tuesday and it seemed like every substitute in the building had a question for me that I couldn't answer and I became overwhelmed by the whole situation. Now on the way to school I had heard a story on the radio about a pilot making an emergency landing in the Hudson River and the news anchor related that the pilot made a Mayday call just before hitting the water. I guess I felt like that pilot and for some inexplicable reason, just before time for school to begin, I opened my phone to my Facebook account and typed "Mayday! Mayday!" and put my phone away and didn't think another thing about it.
But I soon learned that hundreds of Facebook friends have my back. When I got home Tuesday and looked at my account again, there were more messages than you could say grace over. Most simply said, "praying." Never let it be said that Darrell Huckaby doesn't appreciate a prayer being sent heavenward on his behalf, but I never expected my friends to take my Mayday call to heart. I felt a little bit like the boy who cried wolf because even though I was a bit discombobulated Tuesday I wasn't really in dire straits.
But the prayers weren't all. A network of people began to check up on me, and I learned later that several concerned folks had called the school to ask if I was there and check up on me. People called my house and left messages. One dear friend drove to our house and knocked on the door and one person actually came to the school house, looked through the window into my classroom to see that I was indeed teaching, and posted an all-clear on my site.
I never dreamed that I was being monitored so closely by people who cared so deeply. The entire incident was heartwarming and affirming and the prayers, even though not actually solicited, were effective because I did, indeed, make it through the day Tuesday and never thought I would when I arrived at work. But I promise, I won't ask you to do that again you guys. I will be more careful about what I post online.
I cannot begin to count the blessings that have come my way over the past two years. Over and over and over close friends and virtual strangers have responded to my needs in ways that I cannot begin to count and my only regret is that I can't express my sincere gratitude in a way that reveals my true appreciation.
Just this week, for instance, some good folks colluded to help me realize a lifetime dream. I now get to listen to an XM radio when I drive, complete with Bose speakers. I can listen in on sports talk shows from all over the country and music ranging from bluegrass to pop to rhythm and blues to classical and jazz and everything in between. And the Cadillac that came with the radio ain't bad, either.
My cup, indeed, doth runneth over.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.