I’ve been offline for over a year. I apologize If I haven't replied to your comments. My WordPress blog’s hosed—can’t even access it. Time for new beginnings. (I'll eventually put the old WP blog posts up here.)
What a rollicking year that was. I fled my Florida teaching job of 8 years, escaping an administrative fatwa after vehemently protesting the Stalinesque treatment of a vulnerable Special Needs student at Sarasota's Oak Park School.
Turning our manse in Sarasota over to my 24 year-old squire and former student (“Don’t kill the usual malicious trespassers.” “Which ones should I kill?”), I drove a big yellow truck 1400 miles from the Florida Gulf to the Mohawk Valley, only screaming once in terror, in Georgia, when Big Yellow almost went Tippecanoe off an exit ramp last used by Stonewall Jackson. My wife followed in the secondary escape vehicle with our lamenting cat, Great Marley, and some plantings from our beloved tropical garden. We set a sedate 55 mph pace, though I occasionally allowed myself the heady sensation of going downhill at 60. Passersby shouted encouragement.
When I say we drove from south Florida to upstate New York, the reaction’s typically Big Whoop. But when I say we drove about the distance from London to Tunis, all but the most blasé are impressed. (My sardonic squire: “It’s not far between European borders.”) It was quite an odyssey for an upper middle-age couple, especially in the dead of winter. I learned about diesel fuel additives and diesel engine glow plugs. (If you don’t know, may you never have to learn, especially when it’s 20 below with a hard wind out of Canada.)
Our Sarasota plants have adjusted to the indoors and the long Adirondack days. Cat Great Marley keeps to the house following his suicide attempt when we first arrived: he ran maddened into the evening at the first sight of his new yard with its wind-whipped drifts of snow and ice. He was rescued by a posse of local kids, who ferreted out his hiding place, where he’d settled down to freeze to death. A freshly opened can of fancy white albacore coaxingly offered lured him out, saving his entitled life.
I’ve settled down to at last finish the sequel to The Eldridge Conspiracy and catch up on my reading. It’s akin to the America I grew up in here: people first look at your face, not your clothes, the police evenly enforce the law, teens don't know what a Glock is and schools place kids based on their aptitudes, not their parents' race and net worth.
“We’re not in Sarasota anymore, Todo,” said my wife. Indeed.
I’ve a few postings coming about my adventures at Oak Park School, Sarasota. They're probably only believable as fiction, but sadly aren't. I've a rich trove of material to drawn upon. Some tentative titles: "'I ain't a retard!'" and "Please Pass the Pedophile." Decide for yourself if they're true.
Through some miracle, I’ve recovered my sense of smell here, and revel in the scents of summer.
Off for a twilight walk along the banks of the Mohawk, just around the corner. (We have flood insurance.) The sun sets late here and everything’s in bloom. The greenery explodes into life after the arctic winter. Seeds thrown into the ground just shoot up. Our kale crop, of all things, is out of control. Kale. Jeez. Why couldn't it be the blueberries?
Great Marley has yet to venture into his new his yard to explore our Adirondack roses or disrupt my fragile new rhubarb. Maybe this autumn. Tomorrow, an early morning hike through the trails surrounding the local college, where barns abound.