The Crossing Guard Chronicles: ‘Change Is The Only Constant’ *

* The credit for this quote goes to a Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who lived around 500 BC. He believed that permanence does not exist, everything is in a state of ‘change’.

Heraclitus was right, I believe. ‘Change’ is a force that moves us to modify our behavior, to adapt. We really have no choice.

The novel Covid-19 is an example of ‘change’ and how we have adapted to new circumstances with new patterns of behavior: the wearing of masks, social distancing, acquiring enough toilet paper for a family of 7 when there are only 2 of us, hoarding.

Schools are adapting to stay on mission, educating our youth, with different methods of teaching: in person, on-line, or a combination of both, a hybrid. The objective is the same but the delivery is different. Educators have a history of adapting, changing to the circumstances, and that’s a good thing.

Heraclitus and his philosophy would have been a great topic for discussion at the ‘Curbside Classroom’, as I waited to cross students along a busy roadway. But a change in my plans precludes me from being a full time school crossing guard this year, bringing the ‘Classroom’ to a close.

There will be a new crossing guard and the kids will have to adapt to the ‘change’, a new personality. They will, kids are resilient, and it teaches them at an early age that learning to deal with ‘change’ in a positive way can be a confidence builder.

Again, I’ll be back as a substitute crossing guard, so, kids, give a shout out when you see me. You made being a school crossing guard a wonderful experience. Have a great school year.

Steve B. (Srbottch.Com)

September 2020

Definition and Examples of Tricolons in Rhetoric

Another gem from ‘ThoughtCo.com’ that might interest you, as writers. I enjoyed reading these and will think of incorporating a ‘tricolon’ into my writing habits. But , first things first, what is a ‘tricolon’?

A tricolon is a series of three parallel words, phrases, or clauses. Learn more about this term and see examples from famous works.
— Read on www.thoughtco.com/tricolon-rhetoric-1692565

Music and The CoronaVirus

Could the Beatles have recorded the classic song, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, in today’s CoronaVirus world? Doubtful, fans would listen with a puzzled look.

What about ‘Satchmo’ Louis Armstrong, and his song, ‘What A Wonderful World’ with thé line, ‘I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do’ Who’s shaking hands today?

The New Seekers would not have had a hit with ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’ without the lyric ‘I’d like to hold it in my arms and keep it company’. Maybe, in its place, they could sub, ‘I’d like to love it with all my heart and keep everyone six feet apart’? Nah, wouldn’t work.

Music is all about emoting feelings: hugging, kissing, being together, loving one another. Today, everyone can’t ‘get together and smile on their brother‘ as The Youngbloods encouraged us to do with their smash hit, ‘Get Together’, not with social distancing and masks.

This pandemic is affecting us in more ways than you might think.

The Drifters might have been okay with ‘Under the Boardwalk’, ‘on a blanket with their baby…’ especially with young followers generally flaunting the unofficial rules. They would have found these lyrics perfectly acceptable.

Just think how music would have to change because people’s habits are changing due to CoronaVirus. It remains to be seen if we return to old mores or actually change personal habits regarding closeness and social behavior.

As a career salesperson, shaking hands firmly was SOP. That’s changed. Elvis would have to remove the lyric, ‘take my hand’ from the beautiful ballad ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’.

Jay & The Americans could not have titled their big hit song, ‘Come A Little Bit Closer’, not in the age of Coronavirus. It would have raised some eyebrows, unless, of course, you were under the same boardwalk as The Drifters.

No, we’re in a unique time where SOP is upside down, PSAs constantly warning us about protecting humanity by keeping apart. We’re encouraged to wear masks to protect others from potentially harmful droplets and we learn to smile with our eyes.

On thé positive side, we don’t have to shave nor worry about brushing our teeth. Our faces our covered and we’re six feet apart, if you’re following protocol.

Come to think of it, even the Seven Dwarfs would be out of vogue singing ‘Whistle While You Work’.

Who’s working, anyway?

Steve (srbottch.com)

June 2020

To all those who enjoy music lyrics and find yourselves singing daily, even to yourself.

Why Do I Raise The Flag?

As a youngster, I was taught about the flag and what it meant. I learned about the flag by listening to my parents and watching them live as Americans in a free society, being responsible citizens, demonstrating the finest values of growing up in, and being good stewards of this special place, America.

Through teens and into adulthood, I learned about the issues and challenges we face as Americans. I witnessed our strengths and weaknesses, our successes and failures. As an old man, I see those same attributes today, as we struggle to grow and become better citizens.

I learned to love our country through education and service, a brief stint in the military for the latter and a wonderful patriotic school activity for the former.

Every Memorial Day, my elementary school would gather in the schoolyard to sing patriotic songs, military songs, our National anthem and to recite our Pledge of Allegiance. The chorus of young voices filled the neighborhood, locals gathered to listen and sing along. It was a happy time, a proud time, a patriotic time. It was the 50s.

The celebration ended with a recital of our Pledge of Allegiance and the playing of ‘taps’ from an unseen trumpeter in the distance. Our American flag flew from every corner of the old brick school building. The moment was exhilarating, even for a kid.

I remember that annual event as though it was yesterday. I can still sing the military ballads and belt out the Star Spangled Banner, and I do when the spirit moves me.

These many years later, on Memorial Day and Independence Day, my wife lines an array of small American flags in front of our house. It’s attractive but more importantly, it quietly expresses our feelings about our ‘home’, America, while paying silent tribute to all those who sacrificed so much to protect and preserve the American spirit and way of life.

Why do I raise the flag? Simply because I’m proud to be an American and I love my country.

Steve

For more stories, go to ‘srbottch.com’ and click the Follow’ button. Also, check me out on Instagram at ‘srbottch’

May 2020

5, 4, 3 …’Weighing In’, In The Age of CoronaVirus

Life has its ups and downs, back and forths, give and takes, and, if we’re lucky, we just roll with the punches and things work out…..or get bigger.

Take waistlines, for instance. They start off small and stay that way for awhile, years, even. Then, one day you realize something has changed, you’ve ’rounded out’ in the middle, ‘widen’ in the posterior and ‘sagged’ a bit in the chest & abs. Six pack? Forgetaboutit!

The time has come for action to refine this one and only body and restore it to the sculptured look you once had, a temple. Hyperbole, maybe, but a wake-up call for sure.

So, you hit the gym and get to work, hard work, and it shows. Maybe you’re not quite the Adonis you once were but when you see yourself in the mirror, shirt off, and the scale has good numbers, then yes, total satisfaction. Your hard work is rewarded. It’s taken months, maybe years of sweat, soreness and sacrifice, but you did it. Give yourself an attaboy.

Then, almost overnight, the gym closes, the walking paths shut down, the heathy food flies off the shelf (along with toilet paper) and you’re sitting at home, in a daze, bloating on carbs and crackers and wondering what the hell just happened,

It’s the CoronaVirus curse and in no time at all, the ‘countdown’ starts, you’ve gone from the 5 hole on your belt to the 3 hole. You can feel the difference. And you know others can see it.

You want to get out and do something, something big, something that makes you shrink. A workout, that’s it. But you’re not a runner, not since a drill sergeant chased after you, barking all the way.

No, you’re a bit slower now, a little sedentary, accustomed to sitting around, thanks to CV. Besides, the ramped up cookie production in the convection oven needs tending, coffee needs brewing, the sofa needs fluffing.

The governor says, ‘Stay home!’ Such profundity! You like it. Besides, you’re in ‘that group’. Yes, the one everyone is worried about. So, you’re going nowhere, doing nothing and heading to the 1 hole, fast!

Hell, maybe you won’t even need a belt at this rate…

(Above courtesy of @markedman24 on Instagram)

Steve B

Srbottch.Com for more stories

To everyone who is anxious for the ‘lockdowns’ to end and we can get back to being ‘normal’.

Heroes Among Us..,

Someone asked me what I would most remember about this coronavirus time.

I’ll remember this, ‘the heroes among us’.

When this ‘virus thing’ is over and we return to normalcy, however we define it, each of us will have a story. It always happens during a cataclysmic event, and this Coronavirus is one. We remember what, where, when and other big picture events that will likely change in our memory with the slippage of time.

I’ll remember the ‘who’, angels from my neighborhood who were the ‘heroes among us’.

Crises, tragédies, disasters, whatever you call them, often bring out the best in people. Whether man-made or natural, seismic events will find people who rise to the occasion to do something positive. At all levels, heroes will be born.

First responders perform heroic acts in the public’s eye. Police officers, firefighter and soldiers come to mind. Sometimes, it’s ordinary people who happen to be in the ‘wrong place’ at the right time and their natural instinct to act results in an act of heroism. More often than not, a heroic act is spontaneous, a spur of the moment action.

In my neighborhood, and I’m sure in others, there is a cadre of volunteer shoppers, generally women, organized and managed by one individual who recognized that some of us older folks might need stand-ins on shopping day during the CoronaVirus ‘skirmish’.

Was she ever right!

There are other neighbors who have reached out to us on their own accord and whose services we’ve used to help keep our prescription and food shelves supplied.

These are ordinary people doing extraordinary deeds. stepping into an environment, stores, that may not be the healthiest place to be. But, they do it, to help.

As one neighbor succinctly expressed her feelings:

“I’m happy to help-truly helps me to get through this knowing I can do a little something for someone else”.

These are the ‘heroes among us’. They don’t wear uniforms. Don’t have capes or super powers, but they do wear masks, masks in the fight against Covid-19.

We, the people designated as vulnerable to the virus, are appreciative of this help. And we don’t need to ask, ‘who was that masked woman’, because we already know…

…they are ‘the heroes among us’!

That’s what I’ll remember!

Steve B

(Srbottch.Com for more stories)

To: Adrienne, Lisa, Shameer, Andrea, Dan. Eva, Elizabeth, Julie, Jennifer, Joshua et al who volunteer to ease your neighbors’ worries

May 2020

The Crossing Guard Chronicles: Oh, What We’ve Missed…

“Today, April 30, 1789, is a big day in American history. It happened in New York City and was the first of its kind. Do you know what it is?” *

This would have been today’s question at the Curbside Classroom. ‘Would have been’, because school has been shutdown, suspended, due to the Coronavirus.

April 19th, 1775 in colonial Lexington was another landmark day in American history, as was the prior day, April 18, that same year. The American poet with the long name, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, memorialized the 18th in his poem, ‘The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’.

So many topics the kids and I are missing at the ‘Curbside Classroom’ because of our ‘furlough’ from school and my school crossing duties.

Sure, the daily history tidbits are interesting, but there’s so much more that we discuss, point out, quiz, laugh about in the minute we have while waiting to cross to the brick and mortar classrooms: beautiful sunrises, ducks in Buckland Creek behind us, planets lining up, and for the early crossers, the amazing ‘Morning Star’, Venus, as it visits us in late Spring, .

We try to cover it all, and then some: Word-of-the-Day, famous people, quotes, trivia, space, explorers, the mundane and the sublime. What is a Z-O-E-T-R-O-P-E and how do you pronounce it? Oh, the fun we’re missing, the dialogue, the learning and the laughter.

The end of the school year was in sight, then we were interrupted, sidelined, benched by the Coronavirus. There will still be an ending, but we won’t be at our customary stations to experience it.

I’ll miss reminding English students of Homer Simpson’s quote, “English, who needs it, I’m never going to England!” The math students will miss me mentioning Pythagoras and his equation, first thing in the morning.

And we all missed the 108th birthday celebration of the Oreo cookie. I had to eat them all, myself. Oh, my!

Greeting kids by name, asking about their day and future plans, especially Seniors. I miss that. Some are going on to college, others into the work force, while a few are heading to the military. I wish them all the best.

If I was to give a Curbside Classroom Commencement message to the graduating class, it would be this quote from Sarah Caldwell:

“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can…there will always come a time you’ll be grateful you did”.

Who was Sarah Caldwell? Well, I always try to leave something for personal research.

Yessiree, we missed a lot this Spring, but mostly I missed you, the kids.

Steve B (srbottch.com)

To all the kids in the TCMS and BHS, especially those who cross at the Curbside Classroom

* George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States

May 2020