A Little Shellacking on this Fantastic Friday

This Fantastic Friday looks back at times when President Obama and I played fast and loose with shellac and paid the consequences.Today’s the last day I’m in my home town. I walked by the house where I grew up and where Dad encouraged me to play fast and loose with shellack. This Fantastic Friday post revisits that memory and one of my few bonding moments with President Obama.

shellacking: present participle of shel·lac (Verb)
1.   Varnish (something) with shellac.
2.   Defeat or beat (someone) decisively: “they were shellacked in the election”.

First, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now he’s reviving dead language. Our president is proving to be quite the leader, at least in areas he hadn’t planned to pursue.

After his famous admission that the “Democrats took a shellacking” in the midterm elections, media groupies have used the word with the fervor of young adolescents imitating the most popular kid in middle school. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “It was Obama’s use of the word ‘shellacking’ that had the blogosphere talking.”

All I know is that every time I turn on the radio, broadcasters and talk show hosts work the word into their copy. They use it with eagerness and obvious pride, their intonation hinting at their delight and pride in using the same word the coolest guy ever in the White House uses. Pretty cool, huh? Huh?

They’re loving keeping up with the big guy, but I’ve had about had my fill of shellacking. In fact, I haven’t been this fed up with the stuff since the summer of sixth grade. Mom was gone for a week or two, taking graduate classes for her masters degree. In her absence, Dad worried that I wouldn’t have my 4-H project – refinishing an old end table – done for the county fair. So he roped our elderly neighbor into helping me glue and clamp the pieces together. Then Dad wheeled out to the garage to direct the staining, sanding, and varnishing stages.

He had me load the brush a little too heavily, coat after coat, so the shellac formed unsightly runs and ridges. My half-hearted sanding efforts between coats didn’t improve matters. The end result was less than stellar, and project only earned a red ribbon at the county fair. A real shellacking in my blue ribbon family.

To this day, every time I walk by that little end table in our upstairs hall, my shellacking debaucle comes to mind. Makes me wonder if Obama regrets his overloaded word choice as much as I regret overloading the paint brush years ago. Anyway, I think it’s pretty cool that the same word taught me and the big guy the same lesson – albeit through alternate meanings.

A little shellacking goes a long way. And don’t we both know it?

Three Thoughts for Thursday

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  1. As of this writing Barack Obama is not following me on Twitter, nor has Hilliary Clinton asked to connect with me on LinkedIn. I will issue a press release as the situation progresses.
  2. On the Republican side of things, none of the candidates attending Iowa straw poll have responded to my free housing invitation. To add insult to injury Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee didn’t even call to say they won’t even be attending.
  3. Apparently, running for class president in fifth grade and losing to my opponent only because he was a boy and our class had more boys than girls does not give a person enough political credibility to be taken seriously in the run up to the 2016 presidential election.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Cabinet Thoughts

  1. I don’t want to disappoint the president. So hopefully, he won’t ask me to be in his new cabinet. I couldn’t handle people talking mean about me like they’re doing to Chuck Hagel.
  2. Potential cabinet nominees should be required to watch all seven seasons of West Wing so they know how to walk down halls and talk fast before they get the job.
  3. So far, I’ve watched five West Wing seasons and am getting pretty good at talking fast while walking. I still have a ways to go. But even as a master walk-talker, I’ll turn down a cabinet spot. I’m perfectly happy filling my own cabinets with stuff from the local grocery store where the clerks talk nice to everybody. How about you?

A Little Shellacking Goes a Long Way

shellacking: present participle of shel·lac (Verb)
1.   Varnish (something) with shellac.
2.   Defeat or beat (someone) decisively: “they were shellacked in the election”.

First, Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now he’s reviving dead language. Our president is proving to be quite the leader, at least in areas he hadn’t planned to pursue.

After his famous admission that the “Democrats took a shellacking” in the midterm elections, media groupies have used the word with the fervor of young adolescents imitating the most popular kid in middle school. According to the Christian Science Monitor, “It was Obama’s use of the word ‘shellacking’ that had the blogosphere talking.”

All I know is that every time I turn on the radio, broadcasters and talk show hosts work the word into their copy. They use it with eagerness and obvious pride, their intonation hinting at their delight and pride in using the same word the coolest guy ever in the White House uses. Pretty cool, huh? Huh?

They’re loving keeping up with the big guy, but I’ve had about had my fill of shellacking. In fact, I haven’t been this fed up with the stuff since the summer of sixth grade. Mom was gone for a week or two, taking graduate classes for her masters degree. In her absence, Dad worried that I wouldn’t have my 4-H project – refinishing an old end table – done for the county fair. So he roped our elderly neighbor into helping me glue and clamp the pieces together. Then Dad wheeled out to the garage to direct the staining, sanding, and varnishing stages.

He had me load the brush a little too heavily, coat after coat, so the shellac formed unsightly runs and ridges. My half-hearted sanding efforts between coats didn’t improve matters. The end result was less than stellar, and project only earned a red ribbon at the county fair. A real shellacking in my blue ribbon family.

To this day, every time I walk by that little end table in our upstairs hall, my shellacking debaucle comes to mind. Makes me wonder if Obama regrets his overloaded word choice as much as I regret overloading the paint brush years ago. Anyway, I think it’s pretty cool that the same word taught me and the big guy the same lesson – albeit through alternate meanings.

A little shellacking goes a long way. And don’t we both know it?

Nic Has a Dream

Today’s inaguration of our first African-American president, Barack Obama, fulfills the dream Martin Luther King put into words when I was an elementary student.

One of my former elementary students recently put words to one of his dreams recently. Nic, who is fighting cancer for the third time in his fifteen years of life, shares his dream at his family’s CaringBridge page. Click this link to get to the CaringBridge website. Type “nicroney” in the box to get to his page. Then click on “Read Journal” and scroll down to the January 19, 2009 entry to see what he wrote. And please, will you join me in praying that someday, perhaps soon, his dream of a cure for childhood cancer will be fulfilled?

The Difference a Day Makes

I took this picture yesterday, to accurately record one week of fall’s relentless march toward winter. The change from a week ago Monday to yesterday is striking. But if I had fudged and taken the picture this morning, just one little day later, you wouldn’t have noticed much of a change. Usually, one day doesn’t make a huge difference.

Unless, of course, it’s a day like today. Election Day. No matter who wins this election,it will result in big changes. Either a person of color or a woman will play an important role in the Executive Branch of our government. For you it may not seem like a big deal. For kids, it’s huge.

Flash back about ten years to my fourth grade classroom. I’d read a book about the White House or the Constitution or some such matter to my students. The fly leaf had a picture gallery of past presidents, and the kids wanted to know their names. When I finished reading them, one girl raised her hand and asked, “Aren’t women allowed to be president?”

I closed the book and prayed for wise words. “Yes they are,” I answered. “It just hasn’t happened yet. But it will. Maybe you’ll be the first woman president.” She giggled. “When you get to the White House,” I told her, “invite your old fourth grade teacher to dinner, okay?” She giggled some more.

Though none of my minority students ever said it out loud, how many of them wondered whether an African-American or a Latino or disabled person was allowed to be president? Probably all of them. But by tomorrow morning, this election will answer one of their questions and usher in a new paradigm for future generations.

Every now and then, one day makes a irreversible difference. Today is one of those days.