Listened to the Keith Jarrett Trio’s live recording driving home and pulled into the garage just as the applause started. So the next morning when I woke at an ungodly hour and got into the car to drive to school, was met with the applause as the car started. Pulled out of the driveway with the audience hooting and hollering, as if they were saying, “Way to go, Doug!! You got up in time and are driving to school for perhaps the 7,700th time to go share just about everything you know with children. It’s raining like crazy, you’ve been working non-stop for 10 days straight in SF and Puerto Rico, taking red-eye flights and braving 5 hour delays in airports and 16 hours of flying. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of early morning stays you courier of joy from completion of your appointed rounds. You have taken the education of children to be your lifelong partner, to have and to hold, from better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death or retirement do you part. Hooray for you!” (clap, clap, clap, clap!)
Would that we all start the day with a standing ovation for everything we have done to do our work. Opening the corner store so the neighbors can get milk, driving the recycling truck, working on the road crew, serving breakfast at the restaurant. All the worthy work that sustains life, offers service, makes other’s lives happier, healthier, heartier. Applause for it all!
Of course, this does not include opening the office of the NRA, tweeting your daily lie, organizing the KKK rally, scamming folks in your Wall St. office, spewing venom on talk radio. Boo!! Hiss!! Get off the stage!!!! Stay in bed, don’t bother to get up and resume your work of harming the world for your own profit or mean-spirited warped values.
6:20 am in the morning, off I go again. Maybe I’ll just make a soundtrack of that applause for that extra boost of encouragement when I start the car. But truly, it’s not needed. The real standing ovation comes from the sheer pleasure and privilege of playing, singing, dancing with children. The chill up my spine and wet eye when 100 elementary students stand up, link arms and sing in tuneful and soulful voices We Shall Overcome. The student who asked why we’re thanking Marty, hearing in his mind “Thank God and Marty we are free at last!!! (That’s “Almighty”). The 2nd graders dancing Bow Belinda with such happiness and precision. No audience needed.
But hey, if you want to applaud, I’ll take a bow. And then get on with my work.