What Happened to Baby Cameron?
by: E Walk
(© 2009 by the Author)
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the
author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...
Time Will Tell
Hank and I both drove the guys to the Academy. I had the three first graders with me and Hank had Tony and Randy with him. When we arrived at the Academy, we parked and were walking the boys to the entrance when we were joined by Terry.
Hank and I both hugged the boys and wished them a good day. Terry looked at us, “Why couldn’t Mr. Young at least have taken time to walk me to the door?”
I hugged Terry, “Probably because he wanted to make sure that Len was at school on time.”
Terry looked at me, “Mr. Michaels, let’s face it. Mr. Young is afraid that people will laugh at him if he shows us that he likes us.”
As Hank and I were getting ready to leave, Mr. Banes, approached me, “Mr. Michaels, we have the cafeteria reserved for your presentation, starting at one-fifteen. We’re having the students notify their parents that you will be here. I have no idea what to expect, but you were all that the students wanted to talk about, yesterday afternoon.”
Hank followed me to Cody High and we were greeted by a sight when we entered the building. There were over a hundred students sitting in the commons area with cowboy hats on, and Mr. Beans was berating them for breaking the dress code of Cody High.
Hank and I watched as Colby Granger stood and challenged the man, “Mr. Beans, there is nothing in the handbook that precludes us from wearing cowboy hats, if we choose to do so. Just because you have a bean up your butt doesn’t give you the right to try to tell us how you want us to dress. We’ve called our parents and told them that we were being expelled and they are not happy. You must think that you’re more important than the Board of Education and the Administration. You’re going to get canned so fast that you will wish you had some wieners to alleviate the taste of beans that you are going to be forced to eat.”
Mr. Beans walked up to Colby and slapped him on the face not once but twice, “Who in the hell do you think you are, that you think you have the right to talk to an adult like that?”
Colby spat in the guy's face, “Beanzy, I happen to be the senior class president, and my father also happens to be a pediatrician here in town. You’ve just proved why you shouldn’t be involved in our school. You’ve been a disruptive force ever since you arrived here in August. It’s time you moved on.”
The man went to hit Colby and again and Hank and I grabbed him. Hank snarled, “Mr. Beans, we have enough witnesses to convict you of assaulting a teenager. I’ll be filing formal charges against you. Colby, I’m a lawyer, and I’ll be glad to represent you.”
Two police officers arrived, and the students cheered as Mr. Beans was escorted to the awaiting cruiser.
It suddenly dawned on me that principal Daniels hadn’t even made an appearance during the entire proceedings. Hank was talking to the assembled students, “I want you people to inform your parents of what happened, today. Colby, tell your parents I‘ll be talking to them.”
Hank and I went into the office and the principal was sitting behind his desk, as if nothing out of the ordinary had been happening. I lit into Mr. Daniels, “Cole, why didn’t you make your presence felt today, instead of allowing that jerk Beans to handle the situation? Your ass is going to be on the hot seat. Our boys have been away from this school for less than four years, and you used to always seem to have control while they were going here. What happened to you?”
Mr. Daniels threw up his hands, “The Administration and the Board of Education have made it very clear that I’m a lame duck principal. Ever since that Mrs. Colgate got herself elected as the President of the Board of Education, the system has deteriorated. She not only got the former Superintendent fired, her hand picked successor has replaced him. They have their own agenda and it it’s not in the best interest of students of the district. I’m hanging on for dear life, because I only need to finish this year so I can retire.”
Hank had had enough. He turned to leave, “Steve, it’s obvious that we’re not going to be able to accomplish anything here. I’ll try to make it to your presentation. I have some things that I need to take care of.”
Here I was again, with time on my hands, but I made up my mind that I wasn’t going anywhere near the Michael’s Advertising Agency, just yet. I decided that I would go look for treats for the Valentine’s Day Parties. I got bored doing that, and went to get some lunch. While I was eating, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. ‘What else could I possibly talk about that ten and eleven year olds would want to hear.’
I was met by the principal when I arrived at the Academy, “My goodness, Steve, you and Hank have been quite busy this morning. It seems as if the media people got wind of what happened at Cody High, this morning. In fact there may well be some media people here this afternoon.”
“Oh great, that’s all I need. I’ll probably be so nervous I’ll go to the bathroom in my pants.”
The principal and I walked to the cafeteria. The fifth graders were filing in and I was surprised at how many adults were already seated in the back of the room. I looked around and saw Hank talking to a gentleman and his presence was a little unnerving.
When the students were seated, the principal went to the microphone, “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased that one of our own parents has agreed to return today to talk about his experiences growing up. I heard most of what he had to say yesterday, and it was most enlightening. Let’s welcome Mr. Stephen Michaels.”
“Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, parents and visitors, I am humbled that you would ask me back again to bore you about when I was your age. I understand that some of you have some questions that you would like to ask me. When I point to you, please tell me your name before you ask your question.”
I pointed to a young lady.
“Mr. Michaels, I’m Kaleigh Harrison. When I was telling my family about you last night at dinner, my Dad decided that you were either telling stories or were very poor, because of the way you lived and the fact that you never saw a toilet until you were eight years old.”
“Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, everything I said yesterday was true. Kaleigh, in answer to you Dad’s comment about me being poor, that is not true. My parents chose to live the way we did. In fact, I thought I was rather rich. The other kids at school would be jealous of me because I had three sets of clothes and they usually only had two. My Mother would make me wear different clothes each day, so she could wash them. She would wash them in a wash tub with a scrub board each day and hang them on the line to dry. We didn’t have a washer and dryer, like we do today.”
“Remember, I told you that my Dad would paint pictures whenever he felt like it. There was this man who would come by and pay my Dad for his paintings and take them and sell them. We always had lots of money to buy the food that we needed.”
“I didn’t know this until after my Father’s death, but he would take the gold that he found, to the assayer’s office and receive money for it. He took the money to the bank and put it into an account for my college education. I don’t think you could accurately describe us as being poor.”
I pointed to a young man. He stood, “I’m Billy Andrews. Yesterday, you said there was only one other boy in your class. Was he the only friend you had?”
“Billy, I don’t think he would qualify as a friend. If you remember, I mentioned that I lived about a mile from school. Teddy, lived a mile in the opposite direction. He didn’t like me very much because I would always get better grades than him and he called me the teacher’s pet. Remember, I was an only child and he was one of eight children in his family. In fact, at recess time, we would go behind the outhouses and beat each other up. At lunch time he would always try to get me to give him some of my food, because it was always better looking that what he brought.”
Another young man stood, “Hi Mr. Michael’s, I’m Justin Guilizia. If you didn’t have anyone to play with, what did you do for fun? Did you watch television and play video games?”
I started to laugh, “Justin, we didn’t have a television until my Dad and I moved to town, when I was fourteen. When I was your age, if my Dad was painting or looking for gold, I would go walking in the woods, and yes, I would talk to the animals. They seemed to know when I didn’t have my bow and arrows or my sling shot with me. Sometimes I would go to the lake and go fishing. It was always nice when I could catch enough fish for a meal because it was a nice change. The only problem was that my Mother would make me get them ready so she could cook them.”
A parent stood, “Mr. Michaels, I’m Alicia Watson. I have several questions for you. You mentioned that your father was a painter and sold his works. How did he sign his painting?”
“He would sign them A. Michaels and added his own little distinguishing mark.”
The lady nodded, “I don’t suppose that you would have any of his paintings that he never sold do you?”
“Funny you should ask that question. I have one painting that he did, but never signed before he died. What other questions did you have, ma’am?”
“You already answered one question. Where is your mother if your father is dead and how did he die?”
I took a deep breath, “My Mother died when I was in the seventh grade when there was a massive outbreak of influenza in the area. When I had completed the eighth grade, which was as far as I could go, at the one room school, my Dad and I moved to town so I could go to high school.”
“My Dad would still go back to the cabin every day, after I would go to school. When I went to college, he sold the house and moved back to the cabin. He hated living in town. It was my senior year in college when I was informed that my Dad was believed missing, in a gold mine that caved in, that he had been working in. His remains were never found, so I had a marker placed next to my Mother to commemorate him.”
I hadn’t realized what was happening, but tears were streaming down my face. This was the first time in a very long time that I had thought about my past. The dismissal bell rang and the students and parents stood. I received a standing ovation.
Hank and I were walking to the entrance when Cam, Andy and Ricky saw us. Cam looked at me, “Dad, why are your eyes all red? Did you and Daddy have another fight?”
I hugged Cam, “Son, your Dad and I didn’t have a fight.”
Hank hugged the guys, “Go get the other passengers, so Dad Steve can take you home. I have some things that I need to take care of. If I’m not home at dinnertime, eat without me.”
When Cam climbed in the van, he asked, “Dad, what’s Daddy doing now? Why can’t he just be a Daddy?”
“Cam, your Daddy is who is, and I never know what he’s thinking. Let’s get our passengers delivered, so we can get home and get comfortable.”
When we dropped Terry off at the house on the hill, Damon and Chad were waiting for us. Damon started to tell me what happened.
“Mr. Michaels, you’ll never believe what happened after you left, today.”
“There were people all over the place. Doctor Granger was showing the media people what Mr. Beans had done to Colby. Doctor Straley was there, explaining that I was only wearing the cowboy hat, on his advice. There was this lady screaming that we were all morons that her grandson Harvey couldn’t possibly have hit anyone on the face. The Superintendent announced that Cody High was closed until further notice, until the difficulties could be resolved in a satisfactory manner.”
As I was driving to the ranch, I was beginning to realize why we might not be seeing Hank until after dinner. I also began to get the feeling that I would like to go see where I grew up, since I still owned the property.”
We were eating dinner when the phone rang. Cam went to answer it and when he came back he announced, “That was Daddy, he says we need to watch the channel seven news.”
I went and got the portable television and rolled it into the dining room where we were eating. I turned the tuner to channel seven and started to eat. The announcer came on,
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the latest in the fast breaking news of an assistant principal slapping a student on the face today at Cody High School. It seems that the President of the Board of Education, Mrs. Loretta Colgate, doesn’t even live within the district she claims to represent. Furthermore, she doesn’t even live within the boundaries of the city school district.
When we were finally able to contact her, she yelled that she and her husband owned property in the district she represented. A check of the real estate titles indicate that her husband owned rental properties in the that district, but her name was not on the titles. Mr. Henry Rodgers took the woman to task, saying that the school district policies said that people representing the district needed to reside in the districts they were representing
The State Board of Education has called a special meeting of the Consolidated School Board of the city for tonight, and we’ll report the latest as we receive the news. In other more heart warming news, here is our Heartbeat Reporter Alicia Watson.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, I had the opportunity to meet a real person who believes in children. My twins came home yesterday excited about the man who talked to them about what it was like to grow up when he didn’t know about indoor plumbing until he was eight years old.”
The gentleman was gracious enough to return to the school and resume his presentation today and there were more than a hundred parents in attendance, including me, who thought the man was blowing smoke.
The man wasn’t blowing smoke, and it turns out that he is also a prime player in what has been happening in the public school system. Here’s to you, Mr. Stephen Michaels.
To be continued...
Editor's Notes: It looks as if Hank is getting things straightened out once again. I bet that scummy lady, will find she is fired, in short order. The things she was cooking up were none to tasteful, in my opinion.
We will have to wait for the next chapter to see what happens next, though.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher