The grade one class tumbled into my grade 2 room to unexpectedly join my class in singing Happy Birthday to me. I could not resist a glowing smile as their sweet little voices began the cheerful song.
I had not anticipated the next verse..the one usually reserved for children.
You know…the one that goes: How old are you? How old are you? How old…how old…how old are you?
The grade one teacher, surely out of respectful deference, began to hush the children explaining to them that we do not sing this verse for grown-ups. I beckoned her to please let them proceed. I assured everyone in the room…that I would let them know at which number to stop.
The counting began…1..2..3..4…..6..17..18…..25..26..27…..eager faces wondering how far they would have to go! At 29 I waved them to stop! I could hear a few comments from the children: Wow! She’s younger than my mother. …She’s older than my Dad!
…I knew it, I knew it!!
The grade one teacher winked at me and slowly everyone filed out after the birthday celebration. My 40+ secret remained intact.
Ahhhh! The dismissal bell. A much awaited moment in daily school life.
All the boys and girls put their chairs up on top of their desks and began to file out to get ready for home. One little girl who usually sits at the back of the class…quietly deposited a hand-made card on my desk. With gleaming eyes and a shy smile she said: “For you Miss L.”
I needed to rush out for bus-duty so I quickly promised her I would look at the card when I returned.
In the end-of-the-day rush I’d forgotten all about the card until I was ready to go home. Just before turning the lights out in my classroom, the simple, unadorned hand-printed card with the grade 2 lettering of a 7-year old beamed up at me…inviting me to read it. The message instantly brought a smile to my face…
On the front of the card:
Now that your 29 tell the tooth
On the inside:
Did it really rain 40 days and 40 nights?