By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
Sleepy eyes stare off into distant spaces, summer hair fails to see reason in early encounter, backpacks and snack sacks are filled lovingly with sweet treats and hopeful thoughts. Once quiet roadways are bustling with big yellow buses, morning moms and teachers all making their way to a new year, a new adventure and a new set of challenges yet realized. Freshly polished floors, disinfected walls and recently replaced fluorescent lights lead the way down halls to knowledge centers both of academia and the real world. It is back to school, back to schedule and back to wishing Friday had a twin.
It wasn’t too terribly long ago I walked for what seemed like a treacherous trail down a long dusty gravel road just to catch the one bus that dared to venture into the woodiest backwoods of Mississippi. I remember the weight of a new book bag almost as much as the weight of expectation. Possibly God intended the long walks to bus stops for time of reflection or opportunity to imagine but intention often goes awry. Distinctly I recall the inner debate of walking straight toward the unknowns of the first day or taking a sharp left into the dew soaked rye grass that held much less challenge and far more comfort. Fear of my Momma’s realization that I, yet again, chose the rye grass was often a powerful deterrent.
Few things in life are as timeless as first days of school. The styles may change, classes may evolve and commutes may differ; however, the anticipation, the sounds and the smell of Comet remain. Parents, grandparents and loving friends send off their young ones as best they can. For the first time, many will learn of the world’s cruel ways, confusing standards and which way to open a tiny milk carton. Dreams begin regardless of background, color, gender or brand of shoe. Small hands, small desks and small worlds all collide to form memories not soon forgotten and/or repaired. Parents do the best they can for the best they have hoping their first days lead them to a kinder world. It is a day that spans the test of time with only the names changing.
With a name like Cherimie, hair like a horse and temperament of a hornet, my first days were often an adventure in futility. To my fellow unique name holders, breathe deeply and answer to the closet semblance. To all the small hands attached to big dreams and heavy books, may your first day be the beginning of a wonderful year full of opportunity, knowledge and square pizza. May your outcome not be tied to your background but to your ability, not to your parent’s profession but your performance and should you take a sharp left instead of straight ahead, may your rye grass be as comfortable as mine. Happy First Week of School Beaufort South Carolina.