The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

April 26, 2013

Spring air isn't always the freshest

When you step outside on a springtime morning, there’s a freshness that stimulates your senses.

The trees are budding and the grass is turning green. If you don’t have a bunch of allergies, there’s a smell that fills your nostrils and regenerates your soul.

The aroma of spring reminded me of an incident many years ago.

I moved to Wells to teach junior high English and Social Studies in 1969. Winters were rough back then. When spring arrived, Ray Brennan took his nine sixth-graders — yes nine, the total number of students in the sixth-grade class — out behind the school on a nature hike one afternoon. The weather was warm and the four feet of snow had finally disappeared.

When they returned to the classroom, they cleaned a delicacy they had pulled from the ground. Every one of kids sampled the wild plant that they had dug up. A few minutes later, the entire class went down the hallway in perfect order to the principal’s office.

Frank looked up from behind his desk, questioning the sudden appearance of the entire class when Ray spoke up.

“We brought you something.”

All nine kids who had circled the desk took a deep breath and exhaled toward the principal. The smell nearly knocked him from his chair and brought tears to Mr. Belmont’s eyes.

Without saying a word, he got up and quietly walked toward the door. Immediately, the bells started ringing. Because of the offensive smell in his office, he had pulled the fire alarm and evacuated the building.

It was nothing serious. Ray’s class had just eaten wild leeks.

I have to laugh. Things like that couldn’t happen today. It wasn’t that the principal’s office wasn’t much bigger than a janitor’s closet, but breathing such a stench at the principal could easily be construed as an act of terrorism today. Heck, parents would have been called in for “forcing” their children to eat an unapproved plant and Ray’s job may have been on the line.

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Rick Brockway

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