Saturday, May 19, 2007

Your Snoring Is Disturbing Our Naps ...

Mr. V. E. Leewright was everyone’s favorite teacher. In fact he was voted Teacher of the Year in 1952, by the student body of the old South Park High School in Beaumont. I took civics from him when I was a junior in 1951-1952. This story should in no way cast any aspersions on his outstanding teaching qualities and his charming rapport with us kids.
Fact of the matter was that civics class met immediately following the lunch period. I had a mannerism of becoming very sleepy after eating. Thus I always was sleepy in Mr. Leewright’s class. Civics was a very important subject but it did not help to stir me from my lethargic siesta tendencies. While Mr. Leewright was busy explaining the finer points of politics and how they affected our lives, I tended to drift away.
I knew better than to sleep in class but there just had to be some way to combat the drowsiness. So, I started writing down little nonsense verses. Poetry, if you will. While these verses lacked any depth whatsoever, they did entertain my mind enough to keep me from nodding off right in front of Mr. Leewright. My theory was that if he saw me writing he would think I was taking notes on his lecture.
One day, Mr. Leewright told the story of a raccoon that lived in a tree behind his house. I tried to listen but fell into writing a verse. Here is that verse:

One day about noon
I took a spoon
And ate a gray raccoon;
But very soon
I upped the ‘coon
‘Cause quote, "There wasn’t room.”

I know that the raccoon had to do with Mr. Leewright’s story. The eating part most likely came from the fact that I had just eaten lunch. The nauseous part came from who knows where. I coined a phrase based on this story, “A drowsy brain sparks little to dwell upon.”

Another time, Mr. Leewright was explaining about the Justices of the Supreme Court and how that their decisions affect us.
I really tried to pay attention but ended up with the following:

Several important black-robed men were sitting in a room.
The first asked of the second, “What is doom?”
The second replied, “It is the end.”
The first then said, “Thank you, my friend.”

It is difficult to comment on nothing so let’s move on.
One day Mr. Leewright taught us about the U. S. Senate and the House of Representatives. That topic was fairly fascinating, but sleep was trying very hard to overtake me. The following emerged:

A roomful of men are deciding our way.
They raise their hands with a Yea or a Nay.
If listening closely you’ll hear them say,
“Let’s call a recess, it’s been a long day.”

I guess the “roomful of men” was my vision of Congress. There were no women in Congress at that time. And I knew that they voted with “Yea” or “Nay.” Always wondered why they didn’t just say, “Yes” or “No.”
And one day I missed lunch. This meant that I had to attend class on an empty stomach. Drowsiness did not give me many problems but my stomach was crying out for some nourishment.
Thus this verse:

“I’m hungry now, I hadn’t ‘et;
I hadn’t had time To do so yet.
But I’ll eat soon, You wait and see;
I’ll eat and eat Till I fill me.”

I made a “C” in that civics class
That could have been better or worse;
The one thing I have for sure from that day
Is a collection of civic-minded nonsensical verse.

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


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