"School days, school days,
Good old Golden Rule days,
Reading and writing and 'rithmatic,
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick.
You were my queen in calico,
I was your bashful barefoot beau..."
HOLD THE PHONE!
1. What young man would ever attend school without his trendy footwear. Ask any mother whose credit card is maxed out by the 1st of September.
2. I’d bet the youth of today has absolutely no idea with “calico” is. “The American Heritage Dictionary” characterizes calico as “..a coarse cloth usually printed with bright colors…”. And then there is the calico cat, but I don’t think they meant some child was dressed her in favorite pet.
3. How many of you think the teacher or some other individual at school is playing an exotic musical instrument called a “hickory stick”? You’d be mistaken. Once upon a time not so long ago children were given a good swat if they misbehaved at school, presumably with a hickory stick. Today those educators would be taken to court!
4. “Rithmatic”? Of course that is the shortened version of arithmetic, adjusted to fit. (Is it iambic pentameter? I’m a little obtuse when it comes to identifying various types of poetry. I just know what I like.) The question I have here is whether children actually work the problems themselves or whether they are trained in the finer art of working a calculator. I’ve never attended school so I honestly do not know.
5. Now to the most important and never out-dated portion of this rhyme. The Golden Rule. The rest of this ditty may seem like Grandma’s lexicon, but The Golden Rule should live forever. Wikipedia.org characterizes it as “the ethic of reciprocity”. They went on to say,
“…The ethic of reciprocity or the Golden Rule is a fundamental moral value which simply means "treat others as you would like to be treated." It is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights …”
“Human” rights? I beg to differ. Feline though I may be, I feel obliged to suggest that I too be treated as you might wish to be treated. With deference.
And so back to school. Children, enjoy your school days. Learning is a gift.
Until next time, I remain,
Browser, the library cat
PS. I have lost my collar. By this printing it has perhaps been returned. If not, let me describe it as red with black paw prints and jangling tags attached. If you find it – I must have lost it when I was in the throws of some adventure or other – please return it to The Pine River Public Library.
Printed in the Pine River Journal August 28. 2008