What did I remember
just as I reached the edge of Celina, Ohio, just as I was congratulating myself for arriving twenty minutes ahead of the time I'd told Charlie Mescher I'd get there? I realized that I had forgotten to factor in the time difference between Wisconsin (CST) and Ohio (EST). I was twenty minutes early on my clock. Oh, God, I was forty minutes late on the Ohio clock.
Charlie had given me good directions and I found the Mescher house easily enough. Charlie and his wife Jane met me at the door. My lateness did not pose a problem, and soon we went out to dinner at Bella's Italian Restaurant in Celina. The restaurant overlooks Grand Lake St. Mary's. It serves terrific food. Our waitress was a young Irish-Hungarian woman by the name of Megan Potter who really knows how to take care of her patrons and mixes a terrific olive oil/balsamic vinegrette for dipping our Italian bread. I thought maybe she'd had a little trouble tying her tie, however, and when I challenged her on the job she'd done, she undid her tie and re-tied. As she did so, I thought she looked a like a left-hander trying to tie a right-handed knot, and I know how painful that can be: I'm left-handed myself. I mean it: Megan took good care of us.
Lynn Yates, a collegue of Charlie's from the English Department at Marion Local High School in Maria Stein, joined us for dinner. Lynn teaches freshman English and the juniors.
Jane Mescher is a nurse, a very patient nurse who is used to educators talking shop. Charlie's sisters and his brother-in-law are all school administrators and Charlie's an English teacher, and the group gets together often. Yeah, Charlie and Lynn and I talked some shop.
As I listened to Charlie and Lynn, I couldn't help but think that all the bad-mouthing of public education you hear is Republican attacks on straw men. Here were a couple of fine teachers who care about their students, and about their students' success. It was an honor to be in their company.
And I'd get to see more of them tomorrow....