One of Jeffery’s many reasons for making the trek to New York City was to be “Show and Tell” for Katie’s music classes. Jeffery absolutely loves kids and loves playing music and singing, so the idea of bringing Cajun French songs into a New York school had him quite pumped.
Jeffery and Katie-Beth left early on Friday morning heading for school only after extracting a promise from me that I would be along later (and escorted by Jude, Katie’s husband.) Anyone who knows me knows that my philosophy is, “If it ain’t light outside, I ain’t getting’ up.” However, that wasn’t the reason I was heading out later than them on that day. When there is only one bathroom, unless you want to get up before you go to bed, not everyone can be ready to head out the door at 6:30 am (even if it is light.)
Jeffery headed off to his big day at school, his excitement hardly contained. Not much later, I strolled down Riverside Drive in the crisp cool weather to the subway. I grabbed my newspaper on the way in, barreled my way onto the train, and scored a seat (I told you I was fastly becoming a New Yorker) for the ride to Times Square where I disembarked and meandered the streets of Manhattan to Katie’s school, all by myself I must add.
Arriving at school and having made it past the security guard in one piece (a Southern smile will do it every time,) I found myself at the bottom of five long flights of stairs (yep, that’s what I was thinking too.) I began my plight. Sucking in a deep breath, I made it to the third floor before stopping to rest (and to catch my missing breath.) I arrived at the fourth floor to a similar fate and finally to the fifth. I was thanking my lucky stars that no bells had rung that would have had me scrambling for cover in the corner where I would then have to pretend to breathe normally so I would not have frightened the children.
Safely on the fifth floor and back to breathing normal, I located Katie and Jeffery in the Library, which doubles as the music room. Katie was scurrying around straightening chairs and readying herself for her first class while Jeffery tuned the guitar that he would use for his performance.
Before we left Louisiana, Jeffery had chosen a little French song (Saute' Crapaud) that he wanted to teach the children. It was about a little jumping frog. He also translated it into English so the children would be able to sing along. Needless to say, the children fell in love with him and loved acting like little jumping frogs. A few of them even caught on to some of the French words and sang along.
|Jeffery and Katie-Beth "Ms. Traxlerl"|
All of the children won over our hearts, but there were one or two who managed to stick out a little more than the rest. One child was a boy in Kindergarten. The little boy is Spanish and had not spoken a word of English the entire year. I watched him watch Jeffery singing and he began singing along (French and Spanish are quiet similar,) singing a few more syllables and words each time until he could sing nearly the entire French part of the song. Katie asked the class what the Froggy does and he gleefully yelled out “jump.” It was his first English word! The class was cheering because the Froggy jumps and the adults were cheering because he said his first English word. There was a lot of cheering going on!
It was exciting to be a part of the children’ day and a day that Jeffery and I will not soon forget. Turns out, Katie won’t either. By the time the following Tuesday had rolled around, she had been asked, “where is Mr. Jeffery,” and could they sing the “froggy” song about 4, 322 times!
The biggest highlight of my trip to school was being able to watch my “little” girl teach. I witnessed how grown up she has become. I saw her laugh, smile, encourage, and discipline her “little friends” as she refers to the children. I watched their reaction to her as the teacher. Katie-Beth is a gifted individual who has taken her God-given talents and used them for a greater good. Teaching is her vocation and she is a blessing to all of us who are lucky enough to be a part of her life.