When Miss Wilson’s kindergarten class assembled for the first time, the students were greeted by three words and what appeared to be a squiggle written in large print across the length of the chalkboard.
Don’t Drink & Drive
“Raise your hand, please, if you can read the very important words I have written on the chalkboard.” Miss Wilson asked tentatively, hoping for at least one experienced reader in her class this year. She was pleasantly surprised when several proud hands shot up into the air.
“Duck Duck Goose!” Jimmy Mason blurted out from the back of the classroom, followed by a quick round of giggles and guffaws from the rest of the class.
Miss Wison smiled and shook her head playfully, “Another Mason boy in my class this year I see. Quick to establish himself as the class clown. Nice try, Jimmy, but that’s not what it said.”
“Sarah Merchant, I think I saw your hand go up when I asked if anyone could read what was written on the board. Will you tell the rest of the class what it says?”
“It says, ‘Don’t drink and drive’. I know that is what it says because my mom has a bumper sticker that says that. And I also know that the thing in the middle is called a symbol, and it means ‘and’ even though it doesn’t say it.”
“That is exactly right, Sarah. Thank you.”
“Now many of you may be wondering why I think it is so important for you to understand the importance of not drinking and driving, when clearly none of you are old enough to drink or drive.”
Jimmy Mason took Miss Wilson’s words as an invitation to guzzle an imaginary cocktail while squealing his invisible tires.
This time when the giggles and guffaws erupted, Miss Wilson did her best to hush the class, and with a stern glance in Jimmy’s general direction, and continued in a most somber tone.
“Many of you may have already noticed that we have an empty seat in our classroom this morning. That seat belongs to Jaynie Hollander. Jaynie couldn’t be with us today because she was involved in a serious auto accident over the summer.”
“Jaynie’s father picked Jaynie up at a friends house late one Saturday afternoon after a round of golf and a few too many rounds of cocktails. Jaynie’s father was drunk. On their short ride home, Jaynie’s father failed to stop at a stop sign, causing another car to hit them as they crossed the intersection. The other car hit Jaynie’s fathers car right where Jaynie was sitting. She was very seriously injured. She is still in the hospital in what is called a coma. A coma is like sleeping, but you cannot wake yourself up. The doctors don’t know when, or if Jaynie will ever wake up.”
A few blocks away in a dimly lit hospital room alive only with the beeping and whirring of life monitoring machinery, Jaynie’s mother opened the shades to let in the sun and tugged at the hospital safety window. It was a beautiful late summer day with just a hint of fall in the air and Jaynie’s mother wanted to share it with her daughter on this day in particular. The day her beautiful five year old was supposed to have started school.
Even though the window would only open an inch, the bright sunlight and the freshness of the breeze brought almost a sense of normalcy to the room.
Jaynies mother pulled back the blankets allowing the freshness of the air to travel the length of her daughters exposed extremities.
The cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown, and for the first time since the accident, Jaynie Hollander stirred.
This story has a moral: The victims of a drunk driving accident are chosen as randomly as “it” is chosen in the children’s game, Duck Duck Goose. Children need to know that it is okay to say “No” when asked to get in the car with a driver they know has been drinking. Even if it is their dad…
This piece was influenced by my first reaction to the photo prompt above, provided by Crispina on her weekly, Crimson’s Creative Challenge, although it hardly falls within the confines of the challenge- I am offering it as my response.
I have decided to write a piece to correspond with each of the challenges offered by the On-line Writers Guild weekly challenge. Tnkerr offers up three sets of words or phrases every Sunday. You may click here to view today’s offering. I have found real inspiration in writing a piece that incorporates the offered words and phrases in the past, so I have decided to go back and write for all of them. This piece corresponds to the prompt dated May 5, 2017. The phrases offered were:
- Miss Wilson did her best to hush the class
- But that’s not what it said
- The cool breeze blew in the back of her hospital gown