|What's all that white stuff?|
The Great Raccoon Rumble occurred Sunday afternoon when everyone except me was taking a nap, so when my adorable grandbaby woke up and started chattering, I took her to the front window to look over a world covered with white. We were having a fascinating conversation regarding the activity around the birdfeeders ("Look, birds!" "Ta!" "Birds!" "Ah!" and so on) when I noticed just outside the front door a blur of fur that soon resolved itself into a raccoon.
It's unusual enough to see a raccoon in the daytime, but to see one right up on the porch is even stranger. I assume it was attracted by the birdseed, but soon our thrilling repartee ("Look, raccoon!" "Ta!" "Raccoon!" "Ah!") alerted the rest of the family, and then before you know it they were all out there wielding various weapons to try to scare away a raccoon that seemed set on staying. My son-in-law hit it with the slingshot a few times while my husband went scurrying around for the air-rifle, but by then the dog had discovered the intruder and had the situation well in hand. End result: dead raccoon, which we sincerely hope was not rabid.
The afternoon naps followed the Sunday Morning Sing-Along, which took place at two country churches suffering very low attendance. Only the most intrepid travelers braved the sloppy weather, which moved through various stages of rain, sleet, snow, and ice as the day wore on. I stood in the first service holding my granddaughter while my daughter held the hymnal and we all tried to sing, and soon little Lizzie joined us in her own special way ("Aaaah! Taaah!") while trying to turn the pages, close the book, climb over my shoulders, flop over backward, and otherwise infuse youthful energy into the situation.
I thought of the times when I used to attend two or three services every Sunday morning with my husband in the pulpit and me in the back pew with a two-year-old and an infant at my side and rarely any helping hand. I may have missed some important points in the sermon, but singing with babies makes my heart happy even when they don't know the words. My granddaughter is a girl on the move, much like her mother at that age, so while my daughter sang a lovely solo while I sat and held her squirming child (who added her own sound effects to the special number), it felt familiar, like coming home.
But then they left last night to go back to their own home and I watched the weather and waited for news, which arrived at 5:30 this morning: no classes before 10 a.m. and a Level II Snow Emergency, well deserved considering the ice hiding under that layer of snow all over the roads. I'm sure my American Lit Survey class appreciated the day off, but I'm struggling to adjust the syllabus so we can cover the material in a meaningful way.
I could postpone the midterm exam until after spring break--but who wants to take an exam at 9 a.m. on the day after break? Instead, I'll opt to give the midterm on Friday as scheduled but axe something from the reading list, and at this point the only options are William Faulkner's "Barn Burning" or Ernest Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." How can I delete either one of those from an American Lit Survey? I've only recently made peace with chopping Henry James!
Finally I figured out a way to make my Monday Morning Massacre slightly less bloody: we'll discuss Hemingway in class on Wednesday and leave Faulkner alone. I'll chop Faulkner out of the required questions on the midterm but include him in an optional question, and I'll encourage students to discuss "Barn Burning" in online reading comments (since they were supposed to have read the story for this morning's class anyway). And I'll let Faulkner and James commiserate in the Authorial Afterlife, wherever that may be.
I'll tell my students to use their snow day wisely, but I'm just enjoying a little extra time to recover from my wild weekend. Snow--aaah!