"Who said chivalry is dead?" I asked myself, trying not to think of the consequences this night could bring. Laughing inwardly at the situation, my mind was also whirling with possibilities that could prove to be more than embarrassing. I snapped back to hear what Mrs. Thomas was saying, “Don’t look, Mr. Jones.”
The last thing I wanted to do at that moment was look!
It had been a successful night. The sweet strands of music presented by the students still echoed in my ears. My part of the recital program had gone off without a hitch; my students had performed superbly. Success had been sweet, accolades rewarding, and I was ready to go home to my wife. Maybe that’s why I was not thinking about locked doors when Mrs. Thomas and I scurried down the hall to our cars parked at the back of the school.
Playfully, I pushed the back door open, made a bow at the waist, and with an exaggerated sweep of my arm, motioned for Mrs. Thomas to exit first. We were both laughing as we stepped out into the fenced-in play area that led to our vehicles, unaware that they locked the playground at night. Our cars were separated from us by a six foot fence topped with barbed wire and a locked gate. Shrugging our shoulders, we headed back to the door to walk around the school.
School doors are required to have crash bars for safety reasons. We had no trouble getting outside, getting back in was another matter. After banging on the door and yelling for a few minutes, we realized everyone was gone. We were trapped. Not being one to let a full dress suit stop me, I turned and told Mrs. Thomas that we would have to scale the fence.
“I’m in a dress, Mr. Jones,” she replied. “No way can I can go over that fence.”
Gazing at her well-groomed figure, I noted the short straight skirt and high heels. I also recalled meeting her big husband, and hastily assured her we could do this. I scaled the fence without any trouble, carefully swung my leg over the top, and made my way to ground on the other side.
“See, you can do it,” I encouraged. “Throw your stuff over to me, and I’ll walk over to my truck while you climb over.”
Having no other choice, Mrs. Thomas followed my lead. I stood a discreet distance from where she was scaling the fence busying myself at my truck. My heart sank when I heard her moan, “Oh no, I’m stuck!” Her clothing had caught on the barbed wire and she couldn’t get loose.
I told her to hang on, that I would come and help her.
“No, Mr. Jones.”
She was still worried about her dignity. I told her to keep talking, and I would back over to the fence and she could put her foot on my shoulder, stand up and release whatever was caught. I felt her right foot on my shoulder. It worked. But when she swung the other leg over the fence, “rip.” My heart sunk. I didn’t want to know what ripped.
I’m a white teacher in the ‘hood helping a black woman in torn clothes climb over a locked fence late at night. Just then my cell phone rang. I pulled it open to hear my wife exclaim, “Hi honey, what are you doing? Are you almost home?”
The police didn’t come, the newspaper reporters missed the event, and fortunately, not a citizen with a cell phone was around to record our escapade for the latest U-tube hit. But Mrs. Thomas and I were the hit of the teacher’s lounge the next day as we related the circumstances surrounding our night.
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