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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Spring (the season) (07/23/09)

TITLE: The Shrine Circus
By Mary McLeary


When I was thirty-five, I realized that I had an attention deficit disorder. The phenomenon of attention deficit disorder had come to the forefront of education this particular spring and had raised the awareness of my own difficulty. As a child I had learned to avoid looking out the window during any lesson, especially in the spring. The azure sky accessorized with puffy white clouds enticed me, and if I glanced out, even for a moment, my mind would take me away. The teacher always noticed and I was abruptly brought back. At home, I couldn’t carry on a conversation if the television was on. After I married my husband commented on my odd approach to cleaning,

“You started in the kitchen, returned a tray to the bedroom where you proceeded to make up the bed. You picked up a towel that you took to the bathroom. You washed out the tub, took the cleaner back to the laundry room and folded a load of clothes. An hour later, the dishes in the kitchen still weren’t washed.”

I told him I was multi-tasking and suggested he spend his time helping instead of critiquing my technique, but after that, I tried to focus more and complete one project before I started another. Then I started teaching and was expected to do a hundred things in a short amount of time, A.D.D. was a plus.

My point is, I can do many things at once and as a teacher, that’s a good thing most of the time. One particular spring morning, I was tearing out workbook pages for my second graders to do in reading when Christy, a bright seven year old, burst into the room. She really wanted to talk so she sat right next to me as I thought of a multitude of activities to be done. I half listened to what she had to say and responded with a vague, “That’s nice”.

Every spring the schools distribute tickets to the Annual Shrine Circus. Shriners are an international fraternity of about 450,000 members and are best known for their unique parades and philanthropy to children’s
hospitals. The circus is their largest fund-raising event and provides a quality, fun-filled family experience with proceeds going to a great cause. I had handed out the tickets the day before and the kids had taken them home.

With a twenty second delayed reaction, I began to laugh as my mind registered our conversation.

Christy had began, “Mith Mary! Mith Mary! I’m going to the turcus with my mom and my mom’s boyfwend”.

I replied, “That’s nice”.

We’re going in my mom’s boyfwend's lellow tar”.

“That’s nice. Do you like your mom’s boyfriend”?

Now this is the part I almost missed when Christy replied, “Oh, he’s aw wite, but I TAINT UNTAND A WORD HE SAYS”.

The punch line was priceless, but was made even funnier as I remembered the conversation I’d had the night before with my husband. He and I are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters and a handsome son who is multiply handicapped. Our family has participated with Matt in many events so when the Shriner representative had called our house the night before and asked if we would by tickets to be given away to special needs children so they could go to the circus, I told him we would be glad to purchase four. I wrote out the check and laid it on the counter. A few hours later when my husband came home he saw the check and said,

“What’s this check for?”

“We’re sending four handicapped kids to the Shrine Circus”.

As serious as he could be, Dan replied, “Where are we going to get three more”?

Every spring when the Shrine Circus comes to town and the tickets are given out, I remind myself to focus because although there are many chores that must be done, at school as well as at home, I absolutely do not want to miss the hilarity that is found in an often too serious world. Spring brings refreshing rains, green grass and the opportunity to garden and watch the flowers bloom, but it also brings the Annual Shrine Circus and a gigantic laugh.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Welc08/01/09
Unique story. Got lost a few times but over a very nice story.
Sunny Loomis 08/05/09
Good story. Thank you.