What Happened to Baby Cameron?
by: E Walk
(© 2009 by the Author)
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the
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You Want Me To Do What?
When I arrived at the ranch, the boys and Hank were coming out of the house. When the boys saw me, Randy and Ricky ran to meet me. Randy hugged me, “We’re getting ready to go for a ride. Go get changed and you can go with us. We’ll saddle Anastasia for you.”
When I went out the back door, Hank and the guys were waiting for me. I climbed on Anastasia and Cam took off. Hank and I rode behind the guys, but they seemed to be doing fine. Hank asked, “Steve, are you okay with what’s happening?”
“Hank, I never aspired to be on the school board, and this afternoon’s session at the Governor’s press conference has made me realize that I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I’ll be glad to be a stay at home Dad. I guess that’s not possible, is it?”
Hank shook his head no, “Stevie, I’m afraid you’re committed for the long haul, for now. We’ll just have to deflect the blows as they come.”
When we arrived at the stable, the young guys dismounted at the platform that Hank had had built. We led the horses to the stable and Chase helped the young guys take off the saddles and bridles, while Hank and I took care of our horses. I heard Cam yell, “Randy, go get the horses their treats.”
After a wonderful meal, we were sitting in the living room, watching the news. The newscaster came on, “We have been advised that there has been a flurry or resignations from the state offices in the past twenty-four hours. We don’t know at this point in time if it is because people were caught with their pants down, so to speak, or whether they were involved with the plot to take control of the state’s education system. There is a rally with more than a thousand people parading in front of the capitol building, demanding that all students of this state receive a quality education, as called for by the constitution.”
“We have been unable to contact Mr. Michaels to see what his reactions to these happenings might be. We have tried to contact him at his known residences, but he has not been home. It’s as if the man is floating around in space.”
Cam started to laugh, “Oh no, our Dad is an alien floating around in space.”
Hank stood, “It’s time you young people get ready for bed. After all, you do have school tomorrow, and we’re going to have a busy weekend.”
Cam stopped as he was starting up the steps, “What is it that we're going to be doing this weekend to make it be so busy?”
“We’re going to go take lessons on how to talk to the animals and get the animals to help us clean the cabin and clear the underbrush.”
Cam started to giggle, “Guys, I think our Dads have been watching too many Disney movies.”
Hank hugged me, “Let’s go to bed. We’re going to need all the strength we can muster to get through the next couple of days.”
As we were eating breakfast, the phone rang. Hank went to answer, “This is Hank Rodgers. … Oh, hi Ray. What can I do for you? … We can arrange to meet with you anytime between about nine and two thirty, since we have to get the boys to and from school? … Let me check.”
Hank looked at me, “The Governor would like to meet with us at eleven o’clock. Is that okay with you?”
I shrugged, “It’s fine with me. Where are we going to meet and why does he want to meet with us?”
“Ray, Steve wants to know where and why we’re meeting?”
Hank nodded, “I’ll tell Steve. We’ll see you at eleven o’clock.”
Hank hung up, “The Governor wants us to be in his office at eleven. He wants to discuss the Consolidated School District, since he has children in the system.”
I shook my head, “Hank, why does he want to talk to us about the system? Neither of us are education experts.”
I was leaving with the guys when the phone rang again. I didn’t wait to hear who the call was from or for, because the guys were already in the van.”
Thankfully there were no signs of the media when we pulled into the parking lot, so I went to talk to the boys’ teachers to make sure that we weren’t missing something that we should be working on. The teachers assured me that the boys were all doing great.
When I arrived at the capitol building, I was confronted by a cameraman. “Mr. Michaels, what brings you here again?”
“To be perfectly honest with you; I haven’t the foggiest idea why I’m here, this time.”
I was shown to a conference room and Mr. Cooper, the State Commissioner for Education was already there with Attorney General Barclay. We were making small talk when Hank arrived Governor Witter said, “Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce an old friend, Hank Rodgers.”
After the introductions, the Governor cut through to the chase. “Thank you for coming on such short notice, Mr. Michaels and Mr. Rodgers. You have unknowingly unleashed a veritable time bomb with your discoveries. Not only had our local system and surrounding districts been infiltrated by these forces set on privatizing education for personal gain, but districts in some adjoining states have also been infiltrated. It seems that the group chose the Denver Consolidated School District as the pilot for their program. The federal authorities are now involved in the case.”
The Governor looked at Mr. Cooper. “Coop, how many resignations have you had in your department since this mess started?”
“There have been twenty five, and unfortunately they all have been in the upper levels of management. There is going to be a tremendous void until qualified replacements can be found.”
The Governor turned to Mr. Barclay, “Ken, what
legal actions have your office taken against the people who were implicated in
the materials that Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Michaels provided?”
“We have filed charges against all the state employees who were specifically mentioned in the information the two gentlemen garnered, as well as some others who have been implicated. We are looking into any sudden resignations or retirements. All I can conjecture is that someone or a group with lots of money is behind this attempt to take over public education, because some people with good records previously have been bought out.”
The Governor asked, “We can penalize any state employees but what can we do about the other people in prominent positions who were also involved? Are they going to go scot-free?”
Hank shook his head, no, “Governor, Tony Romero, who is a school board member as well as a very good lawyer, and I were meeting on that very issue this morning. We are preparing lawsuits against anyone who was specifically mentioned in the report. We’ll be preparing additional suits as more names surface. I have our investigators trying to identify who or what group is behind this movement.”
Governor Witter laughed, “Hank, I see you haven’t really changed much since high school. You don’t let any grass grow under your feet. Mr. Michaels, I suppose you’re wondering why you are here. I have something to propose to you. Since I am a parent who has children in the public schools, I would like for you to consider being the Interim Superintendent of the Consolidated School District. We have to fill that position immediately, or the schools will be operating in a state of anarchy.”
I gasped, “Governor, I didn’t aspire to even be on the school board, and now you want to be the Interim Superintendent. Sir, my background isn’t in education.”
Governor Witter grinned, “Perhaps you don’t know the ins and outs of the education system, but you must be a good manager to have been able to build the Michaels Advertising Agency into the largest agency in the city.”
I put up my hands, “Governor Witter, I can’t be a school board member and the superintendent of the district at the same time. That would be like I’m working for myself.”
Hank interrupted, “Governor, the school board is meeting at seven o’clock tonight.”
I asked, “We are? How come no one told me?”
Hank continued, “Perhaps, Mr. Cooper could be available to provide assistance, tonight. When I was meeting with Mr. Romero this morning he suggested that Steve be named the Interim Superintendent and that I assume his position on the board.”
I put my head on the table, “I'm beginning to feel as if I’m a puppet”
Governor Witter laughed, “I’ll tell you what, Puppet Michaels, I’ll be at the board meeting as an interested parent to watch you get your strings yanked. Thanks for coming. It’s good to see that not everyone sits on their butts all day. See you gentlemen tonight.”
As Hank and I were walking out of the capitol, Hank shook his head, “Steve, before you start yelling at me. I haven’t had a chance to talk to you. Tony called this morning as you were leaving with the boys, and I came directly from his office for this meeting. I was hoping to get to you before the meeting and I had no idea what Ray had in mind. Let’s go get some lunch and talk about the not so cheap hide away that you’ve been keeping a secret.”
I decided to get the last dig in, “Cowboy, I don’t understand what you want from me. First you tell me that I need to be a stay at home Dad, and now you’re kicking me out to make me work all day. Who’s going to make sure the guys are okay.”
Hank grinned, “You can take care of us from six at night until six in the morning. I’ll take the six in the morning until six at night shift.”
After a leisurely lunch, Hank suggested that I go to the Central Office and visit to see what was happening. When I walked in, there was almost no one around. I went to the receptionist and asked, “Where is everyone and who’s in charge?”
The young woman looked at me, “Sir, I don’t think anyone is in charge. Everyone has been resigning and no one knows what’s happening, or going to happen. Quite frankly, sir, everyone has been running around like chickens with their heads cut off.”
I decided that I wasn’t going to be able to do anything constructive at the Central Office. I looked at the clock and decided that I would go to the Academy, since there wasn’t any time to do anything else. I went into the reception and the principal came out of her office. “Steve, I understand you have been sending shock waves through the public school system. Don’t do too good of a job cleaning it up, or we’ll be losing students.”
I laughed, “I can’t imagine that happening. I’m just sorry that the Academy doesn’t go beyond the sixth grade.”
Our conversation was interrupted by the dismissal bell. I went to collect my charges. We dropped Terri off at the house on the hill and headed for the ranch. The guys had a quick snack and went to see if Chase and Freddie could go riding, since I chose not to go. I needed to collect my thoughts on everything that was happening.
When Hank came in, I lit into him, “Hank, I don’t want to be embroiled in this mess. Was I doing such a bad job at being a stay at home Dad?”
“In answer to your question, you were a wonderful stay at home Dad, but you have much more to offer to continue to be one of them critters. This is only a temporary detour, but you are going to be able to get the curves straightened, with a little bit of help.”
As we were finishing dinner, Hank announced, “Guys, you’re in charge of making sure that Grandma Ellie and Grandpa Tibideaux don’t get into trouble tonight. Dad Steve and I have a meeting that we need to attend.”
Cam complained, “Why are you having so many meetings at night, all of a sudden? You two are getting old and you need to slow down.”
Hank pouted, “Cameron, why do you think we’re getting old?”
“Because you’re both getting gray hair. You need to start dying your hair like Grandma Ellie and Grandpa T. do. That way, people won’t know that you’re 100 years old.”
That was the perfect way to end dinner, because everyone was laughing.
Hank and I drove separate vehicles again, since Hank felt it would be best if we weren’t seen arriving together. When I walked into the Board Room, I was surprised at how many people were in attendance. The room was overflowing again, even with the partitions open.
At seven o’clock, an older gentleman stood, “I’m Victor Able. As the only officer present, I call this meeting to order, since we do have a quorum present, even though three of our members found it expedient to resign.”
Mr. Able looked befuddled, “Mr. Romero, would you please explain why you called this special meeting?”
Tony nodded, “Yes, Mr. Able, this school district is in total disarray after the revelations that Mr. Michaels provided us on Tuesday. We need to fill the top leadership positions as soon as possible on an interim basis, to insure that the young people of our district are receiving the best education possible. With that in mind, I make a motion that one of our board members, Mr. Michaels, be appointed the Interim Superintendent, so that our schools can function.”
The lady sitting next to Tony raised her hand, “Mr. Able, I second the motion.”
Mr. Able was apparently out of his element, being in control of a meeting. The secretary handed him a note. “There has been a motion that Mr. Stephen Michaels be named the Acting Superintendent of the District Schools and it has been properly seconded. Is there any discussion?”
The Governor went to the microphone, “I’m Ray Witter, I rise to speak on behalf of the motion. I think that Mr. Michaels is the perfect person to fill the position of the Superintendent of Schools until a permanent replacement can be found. He has the managerial skills that are going to be needed to get this school district back on the right track.”
The fourth member of the school board, an older lady, commented, “If I’m not mistaken, Mr. Witter, you’re the Governor of our state. Why have you chosen to become involved in this fiasco?”
“Mrs. Newton, I have three children who attend school in your district. I want my children to receive the best education possible. I am incensed, as a parent, that you people who are elected to represent the people of your district hadn’t realized what was happening. It’s time for you to not be led around by a ring in your nose. You allowed Mrs. Colgate and her friends to bully you into accepting that what they were espousing was the best for our young people. Shame on you.”
Mr. Able asked, “Is there anymore discussion? Seeing none, I call for the question, which is that Mr. Michaels be named the Interim Superintendent until such time as a permanent replacement can be named.”
The vote was three ayes, and I abstained, then Mr. Able declared. “It is the desire of this board that Mr. Stephen Michaels assume the role of District Superintendent, immediately.
I walked to the microphone, “I can not serve as a member of the school board, and at the same time, be the acting superintendent of schools, therefore I resign as a member of the school board, but I would like to recommend that Mr. Henry Rogers be appointed to fill the position that I’m vacating, until a replacement can be elected.”
Tony seconded the motion and it carried.
Governor Witter came up to me after the meeting, “Steve, there are going to be a lot of eyes on you. It will be interesting to see if you are able to make changes.”
To be continued...
Editor's Notes: Talk about needing to attend meetings, I suspect there will be a lot of meetings in the next few weeks. It certainly would be nice to see some positive changes made. Let's hope that our VERY OLD people have the stamina to get the reforms put into place as soon as possible.
Just a reminder, in case you haven't been reading E Walk's stories lately, please Keep E Walk and his family in your thoughts and prayers. His health is not in the best condition, and we all wish him the very best and a quick and lasting recovery.
We love you, E Walk!
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher