This story is about the things people remember and sometimes forget. I start this story with a promise. It has a happy ending. Remember Basil? For those of you who are new to the blog, here is a link to Basil’s story. As a short reminder, Basil is the plant I gifted my principal in May. In August, he was still alive. I made a big deal about this plant living.
This brings us to January 2021. Well, let’s start with we thought for sure the chaos of 2020 was in our rearview mirror. We weren’t exactly dancing like smurfs, but I may have done a jig or two in the school halls. New year, new me, and all the stuff we say in January.
Every week, I delivered the Prairie News to my principal’s desk. It is a farming and ranching newspaper. To fill in the backstory, our principal is also a farmer. So in my own way, this handoff is a nod to his other career. Well, our first week back after winter break, I set the paper in the office and gasp—Basil was not looking so good.
My hand flew to my cheeks as I exclaimed, “Basil!”
My principal’s head bobbed as he explained that Basil stayed in his office over the winter break. So he went without food or water for two weeks. Long story short, he said that Basil had been distressed in a similar manner over the summer, so there was a slight chance he could be revived.
That’s the best we can ask for, right?
I danced my way out of his office, and the week continued. For anyone who is wondering, our school is a little like that movie High School Musical. I am not the only one who sings or dances in the halls. That’s where the similarities end. We haven’t had a chance to choreograph anything, but there has been talk.
But I digress.
Monday hit, and quarantines were issued. Our population of 60ish was reduced to roughly 30 staff and students in the high school building. My principal was on the list. Several things happened—first shock. We had not been touched by the events in the world. Next came support. Plans were made for things we could do for those who were absent. Does anybody need soup? I’m on it. Do they need to just chat over Zoom? I get dibs on 3:00. Long story short. This was our time to show what we’d been saying all along. As one student stated, “It doesn’t matter if it’s by blood or bond. We’re family.”
Ten days later, the secretary called me into the office. She was so serious I was concerned. I will forever remember the concerned look on her face when she told me, “We forgot to water Basil.”
I didn’t laugh, but I had to chuckle inside. Basil was our mascot for caring. (That and I’d been adding snips of Basil’s brother and cousin to my salad over the past three months.) The way we treated each other over two weeks affirmed that we cared. The fact that they thought to pull me aside to warn me that the plant I gifted our principal was now dried herbs is the perfect expression of how we treat each other in our community.
We may not agree on many things, but we all can agree that making sure people know they are valued is important, because that is ultimately what they’ll remember.
It’s getting to be the time where I’ll think about planting more seeds. Maybe, I’ll give my boss some Rosemary. She’ll be the mascot of let’s try this again.
And so I close this week’s note with warm wishes and a reminder that good things are coming. We are two weeks away from Valentine’s Day. And for those of us who are pragmatists. It is fifteen days until lots and lots of chocolate will be sold for a fifty percent discount.
Lastly, remember to make good choices.