Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sarita of the Riches

April is National Poetry Month. I finally decided to celebrate with “poem in your pocket day.” But backspace to a few months ago.

We have this friend named Christian. He’s six and he LOVES wearing pajamas. He hates wearing socks, a man after Albert Einstein's heart.

He came over to Jesse’s birthday party in January and apparently really enjoys our hallway and the big blue exercise ball.

In February, I went with his mom to see where the bishop's storehouse was and he asked where she was going and who she was going with:

Mom: “I’m going to the bishop’s storehouse with Sister Rich.”
Christian: “What’s the bishop’s store?"
Mom: “It’s a place where you go if you need help getting groceries.”
Christian: “You mean Sarita? Of the Riches? Is she poor? Can she not afford groceries”?

Later that month, his mom told me that before she came to pick me up to visit a sister in the ward, he asked where she was going. She told him she was going to our house:

Christian: “Wait, am I going?”
Mom: “No, why?”
Christian: “Cause their house is AWESOME.”

A few weeks ago, Christian told me that he does not like his mean teachers who yell at him all the time because he doesn’t write his name the way they want him to, or some stupid reason or another. Since he knows I’m a teacher, he suggested that I find a job at his school. I said I’d like that a lot more than teaching boring college students and that I’d make all the mean kids sit with their noses against the wall. He approved of that idea. 

He came over for dinner recently and all he ate was french fries with a small mountain of salt on top.

Then, last night, his mom informed me that Christian said the following after looking at our blog picture of us on the railroad tracks:

Christian: "Jesse and Sarita are doing something very dangerous!" 

She also told me that Christian hates his gym teacher. I don’t know why he hates her, but he’s smart, so he must have a good reason. The gym teacher hasn’t been to school in a while and people are hoping she won’t be returning.

Christian: “I hope Sarita Rich is a gym teacher!" 

Then later that night when he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth:

Christian: “Do Jesse and Sarita have a baby?”

Mom: "No, why do you ask?”

Christian: "I just want to meet him and say 'sup muchacho' because muchacho is another way to say bro."

So after I heard about “poem in your pocket day” for National Poetry Month, I wrote this for him:

 Idea adapted from John Grandits' Technically, It's Not My Fault

And this note:

Dear Christian, I heard your gym teacher is missing...sorry I can’t be your teacher. I hate pushups and running laps. I think I'm allergic to exercise. But you can sleep over any time you want.

P.S. Happy National Poetry Month! Today is “poem in your pocket day,” which means that if you carry this poem in your pocket, you’ll have at least 5 minutes of good luck.

I was told he wanted to save his poem and write me a letter back that said, “You don’t have to do push ups! If you’re the teacher you can do whatever you want!”

Happy Easter!

A word about Easter Sunday.

I invited half the ward over for dinner the Thursday before Easter. Due to the busy weekend, only a few of our friends were able to come. Which worked out perfectly because: a) what was I thinking?, b) I had papers to grade that I didn’t even look at all weekend, c) I’ve never made Easter dinner before, d) what was I thinking?

In classic me fashion, I attempted three mismatched recipes that I'd never tried before, which is dumb, but oh well, it works for me: spinach and berry salad with pomegranate dressing; creamy mushroom soup; pork chops with caramelized apples and onions. And our marvelous friends brought potato salad, green beans, strawberry napoleons (with diplomat cream!), raspberry turnovers, birds’ nests, and Cadbury Eggs.

We all ate too much and had to sit at the table playing Wits and Wagers until we could move again. This is a game in which the answer to every question is a number, and you score points by betting on what you think the closest answers are without going over the real numbers.  The questions ask about incredibly useful information that everyone should know, but for some reason doesn’t. For example:

In years, how old was the oldest woman in recorded medical history? 
In degrees Fahrenheit, what is the lowest temperature ever recorded in Hawaii? 
How many pairs of shoes were found in Imelda Marcos’ closet after she fled the Philippines in 1986? 

It was seriously so fun! 

Our dinner party.
While rearranging our furniture to accommodate three tables, we found this little green man taking a lint bath under our couch. He ate all our Easter candy and made too many messes, so we had to take him home to his dad.
Lucas is four. He missed his little green man and was glad to have him back.
But I admit, I missed the point of the whole day. I'm really good at that. I worried about how the pork chops looked after cooking in the oven all day—they looked like they’d been soaking in the rain for months instead of golden brown like in the pictures on the recipe blog—more than I thought about Easter Sunday ten years ago. That was the first Sunday I went to an LDS sacrament meeting service. I heard my high school guidance counselor, then the branch president, talk about the atonement and wondered why tears shone in his eyes as he spoke.

Now I know. Those were tears of gratitude for our Savior’s incomprehensible sacrifice in Gethsemane. Tears of relief at knowing that, after the atonement, there is no pain we cannot bear. Tears of joy for a divine plan that makes us infinite.

I didn’t think about this as much on Easter. But I’ve been thinking about it since.  

Better late, than never?