1:09 #045; 1/09

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 21, 2007

He glanced at the wall. 1:02. He had over two hours before the clock spoke that magical number 3:15.

But as for now, he was stuck in 10th grade English in the fourth row in the third desk back. It was hot. He watched a lone fly circle the blackboard as the teacher said something about participles and conjunctions and her voice trailed off into space as his mind wandered, trying to find something — anything — of interest to rest upon.

The fly had now moved over Betty Carter’s head and seemed to take an interest in her hair. He watched the clock again, as if by some chance a constant gaze would somehow hasten its advancement.

But it had the opposite effect and the second hand hesitatingly moved in it’s constant circle with the familiar tick…tick…tick. He leaned his head back and stared at that same ceiling tile for the thousandth time. He shifted in his seat and gazed over at Bobby Baker, whose eyes had that familiar glazed over look.

The air seemed stiff and thick.

Somewhere from the front of the room came the words “Now turn to page 133 and notice how the prepositional phrases….” As he robotically turned in his textbook, he followed the fly as he flew across the clock on the wall and he made a mental note. 1:09

He glanced at the calendar. 1/02. Winter passed quickly,and summer was upon him as if waiting at the door. And on its heels the fall. Like dominoes, the seasons came and passed, filled with their particular celebrations, racing towards their consummation. Halloweens and Thanksgivings and Christmas’s and Fourth of July’s. Strawberries and Butterbeans and watermelons and pumpkin pies.

Baseball and football and basketball and baseball again.

The years had been good to him, as he cherished the unique names by which his grandchildren called him.

There was a birthday party here and a ballgame there and a recital around the corner. And like a ferris wheel, the days came and went.

And the cycles became routine, with the long days of June followed by the shortened days of December and back to the long days of June.

Crops were planted and nourished and harvested and planted again. Yearly vacations seemed to bump into each other. Children were born and learned how to walk and grew and learned how to drive and married and learned how to love.

And he watched and observed and loved and laughed and cried and remembered.

And he glanced at the calendar. 1/09

Rex alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is rexalphin@aol.com.