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Just kittens…

December 22, 2009

People ask me,

Do you have pets???

My children beg me,

Can we get rabbits for Christmas???

I answer,

Aren’t mice in the stove,

silverfish in the basement,

and a slug under the fridge enough???

I’ve had pets in the past,

and once I have a back yard I’d like to have some again,

but one of the special things about me is that I am supra-sensitive,

and when the beings that I take responsibility for aren’t healthy,

and happy,

I go crazy…

In the past I’ve been criticized that my program for caring is too much…

I always wonder,

How much caring is too much???

and who thinks they have the right to stand outside of me,

and measure it…

Someone once told me,

after he picked up a Teddy Bear sunflower that I had touched,

You have had a life as a doctor,

on this land…

I see you racing down a dirt wagon trail on your horse,

about two hundred years ago,

to work on someone’s child,

and you’re frustrated that all you have is your horse and your kit…

You can’t get there fast enough,

and you feel like time is against you…

You need to know that in this life,

you have all the time and all the tools you need,

to get the job done…

But this might be why you can’t stand to be late,

and why you love other people SO much…

I didn’t know if any of that information was true,

so I just put the story in my clue box…

Hardly fit my mittens...

I had a pair of rabbits before my children were born…

I called them Benny and Joon…


one day,

Joon broke her back…

That kind of thing can happen to rabbits when they get all excited and leap around,

kicking out their back legs in the air with such enthusiasm for life,

that their bones fracture…

I remember the sound of her scream,

when Mr. Vet with no bunny experience,

pressed on her back while I held her in my arms,

and she fell to the floor,

until we put her in a lethal chamber,

and she flew to the other side…

I hope I never have to hear a child scream like a rabbit…

When it was Benny’s time to go,

and he needed some help,

my neighbour across the street facilitated the process…

She grew up in Trail,

with a family of hunters…

She said that she’d never do that kind of thing again,

until I told her that because of her courage to help,

I can hear Benny thumping the old growth beams that support the gabled story,

of my house,

and he’s always happy…

And I told her,

I wonder if he’s not watching over you too…

This made her smile through her tears,

in the middle of our street,

and this shared history has cemented our friendship…

…do you ever stop to think about the air that you breathe and the water that you drink…

I had to take two days off of work when Joon died…

When you open up a faucet that has been rusted closed for so long it is hard to shut it off,

in time for Monday morning…

Due to stories beyond the scope of this post I chose not to attend the service of a former student,

who died of heart failure,

while on a roller-blading play date with her boyfriend,

just after they’d say down on a riverside bench to enjoy a bag of chips…

When I went back to school with Benny,

and no Joon,

my class wanted to know where she was…

When I told them what had happened over the weekend they got busy writing at Choice Time,

for a trip to Pacific Spirit Park…

Notes like this:

dear Joon I love you but how did you died.

I know it and benny miss you a lot and me I miss you a lot too and I wish you were alive forever in school.

Love Augustus

My teacher is sad because Joon die.

Do you know why?

Because Joon hurt her back,

and when bunny’s hurt there back we can’t do nothing,

so we have to bury Joon,

because she hurt her back on Sunday.

love from Erica

From David and Brendan.

A letter.

Dear Joon,

We hope you are being good in heaven.

There was no end to the parents who volunteered to drive…

Everyone shared a favourite memory as we stood in a circle,

remembering our friend…

We watched the scary parts through our fingers...

I don’t know whose idea it was,

but laser tag was the planned activity for my father’s 70th birthday…

Starshine (10) wondered why Grampa would want to do that,

I’ve done it before,

for a birthday party,

and I couldn’t figure out why everyone found it fun…

Next weekend I’m going to a party where that is part of the plan…

I’m going to help my mom’s friend set up the food until that part is over…

I kept it to myself,

that in my life as a teacher,

I’ve had reoccurring dreams where I’m trying to get a group of children home safely,

and as I’m walking them from door to door they are being gunned down,

one by one,

and I don’t know how to protect them all…

Starshine said,

I’d rather go to a shooting range and do target practice with a gun,

or a bow and arrow,

that would be a real experience for developing responsibility…

I sent an e-mail to my sister saying we’d see everyone after the game,

and listed a few reasons why laser tag was not our idea of a good time,

as a test to see if she could keep anything to herself…

While we were eating the best pizza ever from the Steveston Pizza Company,

in my father’s kitchen,

my family of origin was on a campaign to justify the joy of laser tag…

My brother-in-law spent a good fifteen minutes trying to convince me,

despite the fact that I hadn’t and wasn’t saying a word,

how it was nothing like shooting at children…

He said,

in fact,

that it is exactly like bowling…

Starshine and I looked at each other,

with raised eyebrows,

me thanking Great Spirit for her,

and our shared understanding…

And we said,

to the whole group,


when you get to a point in your life where when someone even looks at you without saying anything,

and you feel a bullet ripping through your chest,

and isn’t clear whether it was you or the other guy who pulled the trigger,

let us know,

and we’ll throw a rope into your worm hole…


One day I'll be all grown up and strong...

Last Summer I had a dream that I was on a school bus full of adults and children…

And because I had resigned from my district and hadn’t allowed myself to be hired anywhere else yet,

I felt out of place,

as I watched the scenery…

A teacher was making coffee…

I struggled to vocalize,

with the feeling of two hands around my throat,

as I saw her pouring hot water into the coffee maker,

directly over children bouncing around in their seats…

I finally found the words and strength to call out,

STOP LOOK-and-THINK about what you are doing…

The woman gazed at me,

like she’d been snapped out of a sleepwalk…

But it was too late,

as some of the water splashed and burned some buttery soft skin…

In the next scene I was sitting at a desk,

firmly writing school safety policy based on common sense,

with exquisite penmanship,

in full technicolour…

Rule #1:

For the love of God…

Never prepare,

or hold,

hot drinks around children…

Mother nature gives us everything we need... Imagine that...

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