Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A friend and colleague

I was afraid that we were not going to have the brilliant fall colors I love so much.  Twenty-two years spent in the mountains conditioned me to the changing of leaves in October.  The image of a fall afternoon with a bluer than blue sky and my mountains dressed in orange, yellow and red will always be what I remember about football games at Appalachian State University.  (The really cold nights under the lights are another story!)  But for the past week, my drive to school has been such a pleasure.  The road is lined with bright trees.  I came close to just stopping my car and jumping out this morning to take a photo of one.  With the sun shining through its branches, it looked as if it were on fire.  I came to my senses, though, and just kept going, but slowly.  The tree pictured above is right outside my classroom.  It is dedicated to a woman who was a very dear friend and colleague.
I sit on that bench often and eat my lunch, grade papers or chat with a fellow teacher.  Gail was a Language Arts teacher and one-of-a-kind.  She was a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, a world traveler, a pied piper, a friend who could commiserate with me and make me laugh.  I have several books in my collection that she gave me.  She had a knack for finding just the right one.  There were many times over the years when she would come to me during our school's annual Used Book Fair and tell me she had stashed a bag of books for me under the table.  I thought she was only doing this for me until her funeral when another teacher talked about how Gail would find just the right book for her!  She taught me how to interact better with my students.  Gail taught college-age son and he loved her.   We all still miss her.  But when I look at that tree, I feel as if she is still with us.

One Christmas, Gail gave me some handwritten recipes on index cards. The punch was Gail's contribution to any faculty party or get-together.  I am so glad that I came across this recipe the other day.

Gail's Punch

Mix together well:

6 cups boiling water
4 cups sugar


2 - 12 oz. cans undiluted frozen orange juice
1 - 12 oz. can undiluted frozen lemonade
1 - 46 oz. pineapple juice
5 ripe bananas that have been blended in the blender

Chill overnight.

Just before serving, add 6 quarts Tom Collins soda.

Bon appétit, Gail!

No comments: