Yesterday was my Clean Jeans day. When I head out to a village, I bring 2 pairs of blue jeans. One packed, and one being worn. So after a week and a half comes Clean Jeans day. I usually celebrate on Clean Jeans Eve by taking one of my bi-weekly showers* in anticipation of the joyous splendor that is a folded and clean pair of blue Levis.
*The bi-weekly shower thing...It's not because I'm a filthy slob. Out in alot of the villages, water is precious and scarce. We drink purified snow at the house where I'm currently staying. Moving on!
For me this day had particular meaning on this particular go around. I don't want for this to become a complaining rant, but I'll say this for perspective: Usually my classes are viewed by students as a new thing, a chance to gain useful life skills, and, oh, here's a word-an OPPORTUNITY. But here, something is amiss. I don't know what it is, but a good many of my students would just as soon use this opportunity as something to wipe their butts with. Effort and punctuality seem more like abstract thoughts than anything else.
So, after what I can only call a lowsy day on Wednesday, I was really ready for this Clean Jeans day to sort of cleanse myself of the residual bad feelings that came from my day's struggles.
Along comes Thursday. I arrive with clean duds and smelling good. Feeling good. My breakfast of instant mashed potatoes and summer sausage and coffee is treating me well. Class begins....
The day full of apathetic, lazy, flippant, shut-down, grab-asstical behavior of the school day was too much, and I had a pounding headache by the time class ended at 5:00. It was what I call the headache of unhappiness. How can people waste their opportunities so stupidly?
But at the end of the day, fortune smiled upon me with a reward. I was invited to the home of a couple of the teachers for dinner. They are notorious for being good cooks and gracious hosts.
When I walked in, I saw a pretty silly sight. It was a little tiny long-haired chihuahua named Honey which was winking as it regarded me with a cock-eyed glance and a kittywampus stance.
I came in and sat down. I made some comment Paula (one of the hosts)about that chihuahua and she went on to tell me it's story. She had adopted this pseudo-dog from an abused animal shelter. When she got it, it had no fur, because it was so flea-bitten and mangy. It had scabs and things all over its bare skin. The thing had been malnourished for so long that its teeth fell out. When it was fed, it was fed dry kibble, which it wasn't able to gum, so it was nearly starved to death. It had been kicked so hard that its eye was ruined and its head was misshapen. Likely because of the kick, it also suffered some neurological damage and has a hobbling walk to this day. When Paula got this dog, the people didn't really think it was going to make it.
But she took the dog in. It was so traumatized from its pathetic existence that Paula had to buy thick leather gloves in order to handle the animal while she helped mend it's health woes. It would bite and chew and scratch and struggle, but gradually, over time, she earned Honey's trust. After a year, the thing was still alive, and with hair. She took it to the vet and had its ruined eye taken care of and sewn shut so that it would no longer become infected or have tears constantly flooding from its tear ducts to wet the missing eyeball. It loves Paula, but is still pretty distrustful of others. She's the only person it lets pet it. They have a very large mutt named Kong, and this tiny little chihuahua bosses it around constantly.
For dinner we had parmesan chicken, corn, wild rice, mashed potatoes, salad, and homemade ice cream, and plenty of good fellowship in our dinner party of 6 teachers and 2 students. They even sent me a huge plate of leftovers for lunch today. By the way, that dog, Honey...goes wild if it hears the word "chicken" even if it was just whispered in another room. She loves chicken like fat kids love Twinkies.
When you get kicked, it's the friends you meet that get you through those tough days...
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