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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)

By Lynda Lee Schab


My mom is always telling me how important it is to be thankful for the little things. Every day when I get home from school, she says, "so… name three things you're thankful for." I may have to think about it for a second or two but can usually come up with three. Now, as I walk home from school, I am stumped. I am trying to find something to be thankful for in spite of the traumatic experience I endured. Maybe rehashing it will help.

I was sitting in study hall working on my dreaded English paper. Mr. Kylie (aka: "Hawkeyes") was sitting at his desk reading a book about the Civil War. Every few seconds, his beady eyes would peer over his paperback and scan the room for D.R.'s and R.B.'s (disrupters and rule breakers). Those who tested the limits by breaking the rules or disrupting the class quickly discovered that for a small, balding man, Hawkeyes was a formidable presence and took great delight in humiliating his students. It had been said that if he didn't sentence at least two students per day to detention, Hawkeyes went home and punished himself by striking his knuckles twenty times with a ruler. Others say the condition of his knuckles is due to eczema.

At any rate, I couldn't believe it when P.K. started tapping me on the shoulder with his pencil. The preacher's kid may have biblical knowledge, but he sure lacked common sense. I ignored the tap-tap-tapping for as long as I could. I waited for Hawkeyes to make his next room-scan, his black marbles moving over each desk. When he turned his attention back to the exciting Civil War novel, I slowly turned my head and was about to shoot P.K. a dirty look, when a flash of black caught my eye. I glanced down and saw a huge, black spider making his way up my arm, one hairy leg after another.

And then I screamed.

Not just a small, "eek!" but a bone-chilling, blood curdling scream. I jumped up and flailed my arms wildly, like a raging lunatic. Throughout my brief jig-dancing episode, I felt myself step on at least three sets of feet, but I didn't really care. My sporadic arm movements resulted in my English book flying across the aisle and hitting Patti Beeker smack dab in the lip. In mere seconds all heck broke loose in study hall. Screams erupted from all twenty-three students, even the guys, who screamed in a man-yell sort of way. I'm sure everyone thought there must be a killer on the loose in Mr. Kylie's classroom.

When the screams died down, I looked up to an angry Mr. Kylie, standing four feet away, his steel bullets drilling holes through my face. I desperately searched the floor for the evidence to prove my case but the spider was nowhere to be seen, most likely terrified and trembling somewhere in a dark corner, more scared than I was, if that was possible. Hawkeyes didn't need to say a word, he just pointed to the door with his dry, scabby finger and I slinked away, aware that my face was turning a bright shade of crimson.

I suppose in reliving the experience, I can be thankful for a couple of things. First, I can be thankful that Mr. Kylie was my study hall teacher. No other teacher would have sent me out of the classroom and frankly, the principal's office was fine with me compared to sitting through the rest of class knowing a spider was in the near vicinity. Second, I can be thankful for the preacher's kid, P.K., who annoyingly tapped me into awareness of the hairy black creature crawling up my arm. I shudder to think about what would have happened if the spider had made its way up to my shoulder, or worse yet, my face! And third, I can be very thankful I wasn't wearing short sleeves. Or worse, a skirt that would have undoubtedly swirled up in my panic to display my granny-style underwear.

So, when mom asks me what I'm thankful for, I now know what to say. She's right. It is important to be thankful for the little things. Oh - and for extra credit, I'll let mom know how very thankful I am that she shares my arachnaphobia. That assures me that she'll be a little more forgiving when I tell her I ended up with three days in the hole.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Dixie Phillips04/25/05
What wit! I laughed all the way through this. Loved how you "knitted" it all together even to the last word. You have a large gift of writing!
Val Clark04/25/05
Great, amusing story! Kept me wondering till the end 'what would you be thankful for?' Love the way you drew the charcter of 'Hawkeyes' I had one of those, 'Basher' we called him, for obvious reasons. Your attention to details like this: 'Hawkeyes went home and punished himself by striking his knuckles twenty times with a ruler. Others say the condition of his knuckles is due to eczema' really bring the character to life. Thanks for shaping such an intersting story.
Helga Doermer04/25/05
Nice and light, yet has a meaningful message.
Maxx .04/26/05
Ha ha ... Usually I'm the one that let's the spiders loose in study hall ... but I can still relate! ;-)
Sally Hanan04/28/05
Very clever with lots of great little details.
Joanne Malley04/29/05
Wonderful word choices and great imagery. A well-written, entertaining treat! :)
Debbie OConnor05/02/05
Yay Lynda! :) So happy for you. I didn't know this article was yours, but it was one of my favorites again. Awesome!
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/02/05
Haha! I really enjoyed this. Well written!
Suzanne R05/03/05
Fun!! And I loved the descriptions of PK and Hawkeyes. And your thankfulness to be away from the spider. Clever! Well done, Lynda!
Kathy Warren05/03/05
I laughed out loud in a couple of places. Funny story.
Deborah Porter 05/03/05
Well done Lynda! Glad to see you aren't leaving a place in the Editors' Choice until the last week of the quarter this time around. Congratulations lovely lady. With love, Deb
Joanne Malley05/05/05
Congratulations, Lynda. Loved the story! Jo :)
Beth Muehlhausen06/22/05
Girly + spidery = shocker! Whew, some lessons are tough to learn, huh.