Still healing from my surgery so typing is still difficult, hence another summer rerun.
Annie didn’t want to take an apple to Mrs. Rinehart, her third grade teacher. That is what everybody did. It was the classic fall gift for a teacher. She wanted, though, to get Mrs. Rinehart to like her so she wanted to take her something different. Something that Annie thought Mrs. Rinehart would like.
Wandering around the backyard on the cool fall Sunday afternoon, Annie noticed some wildflowers still blooming. The white rhinestone heads that contained a single black flower in the center of the Queen Anne’s lace and the yellows and gold of the marigolds were among the flowers she picked. When she was through, she had a small bouquet. It wasn’t large, but it wasn’t too small, either. It was just about the right size for a vase on a teacher’s desk.
Annie had also been learning to crochet. Actually, all she had learned to do was cast on the first stitch, but she could make a long chain of stitches, which is what she had done several days earlier. Because it looked like a ribbon, Annie used it to tie the wildflowers that she had picked from the garden. At this point in the year, the wildflowers were already drying out, but with the white ribbon of yarn, they looked festive. Or, at least, that’s what her mom said as she helped Annie tie the bow. “Do you think she’ll like them, Mom?” asked Annie.
“I’m sure she will,” her mom said. In retrospect, her mom probably knew that the gift would only be marginally accepted, but she didn’t want her daughter to be discouraged as it had already been a tough enough school year for Annie. Most days Annie didn’t even want to go to school, which was a change from previous years when Annie loved school and learning.
The following morning Annie got on the school bus with her bouquet of flowers tied with the long ribbon. She was careful to protect them from being smashed on the long ride to school. Arriving in class, Annie gave the flowers to Mrs. Rinehart, who tossed them on her desk as another student got her teacher’s attention.
Annie and the others took their seats as class came to order. After the spelling lesson, always the first lesson of the day, Mrs. Rinehart announced that today would be a special lesson for certain students while the rest of the children would be working on their language arts pages. She called out the names of the students who were chosen, and among others, Annie was picked. She was excited; she had never been singled out with all the kids she considered to be the “smart ones.” It was to be the first time for a science lesson.
Every group of students had a small project to complete. One group made up of boys did something with magnets. Annie’s group had a project that focused on water, but Becky’s and Cathy’s group had a project that included plants and seeds.
Although that group was doing fine on their own, Mrs. Rinehart said they could use these weeds to help them with their project. At the end of the lesson, the flowers, suspended by the ribbon, ended up hanging upside down from the blackboard.
All day long, Annie just stared at the flowers, sadly. She wondered if Mrs. Rinehart even liked her gift. Was her gift even appreciated? Would they have set on the teacher’s desk in a vase if Becky, her favorite student, had given them? Or was it such a bad gift? Annie never knew, and although she never mentioned it again, she knew that the next time, if there was a next time, she’d bring an apple instead.