I’ve done some blogging in the past, but after having a recent conversation with my grandfather, I decided to take it up again. The reason is simple: the crocodiles.
Let me explain. My 89-year old grandfather and I recently spent some time hanging out, and he told me a fantastic story about some crocodiles. You see, grandpa was doing some of his best work, that is, telling stories. He and my grandmother wrote a book about their brood of 12 children, and he has always been a natural story teller. He told me one about a crocodile, and that’s how we are here today.
When my grandfather was a boy, my great grandfather worked as a traveling businessman. One of his travels brought my great grandfather to the wonderful swampland of Florida. My grandfather asked his father to bring something back to Illinois with him, and he did. My Great Grandfather brought back two small crocodiles.
At first, they kept the crocodiles in the house. You can imagine the shock of guests when a crocodile crawled from underneath the couch when they were entertaining. As grandpa put it, “We didn’t have many repeat guests.” But they started to grow, so over summer, grandpa and his parents would fill up a kiddie pool and put the crocs in the backyard.
The precocious house guests fared well, that is, until there was a rain storm. The pool overflowed, and the crocodiles escaped. My grandpa searched and they put up ads all over their town. A few weeks later, one of the crocodile had emerged from the sewer in which it had been living and showed up on the lawn of an elderly woman. The woman called the local police, complaining that “A DRAGON IS IN MY YARD!!!” Thankfully, the local town people knew that this dinosaur belonged to the Vears.
When Grandpa finished telling me this story, he leaned in (as he does when he is engaged in a story) and said,
“It’s the stories that are interesting. It’s not where you graduated or what job you had; it’s the stories about the crocodiles that matter.”
My students are my crocodiles. And so the tales begin…