Green, green grass of home

Wow, it did not take the lawn long to green up after the rain this past week. One week ago, my lawn was completely parched. I couldn't detect any green. Now, it is a rich green again and will need mowing soon.

The two inches of total rainfall in the past week resulted in a few pools of water reappearing in the swamp in front of the house. The wetland still looks pretty grim, but any water is nice after looking at cracked earth.

I have been studying the craft of window washing. Last week, I heard that newspaper works as a good wiper offer after you squeegee the window. Although it will make your hands black, it leaves no streaks on the window. So, I about fifteen of the windows with newspaper tonight. I will see in the morning if there are streaks.

My big problem is lack of concentration. I can keep the squeegee on track for about two swipes, then I get sloppy and it slips off track and makes a mess. So, I have to simply concentrate and take my time. In that sense, window-washing is a lesson in discipline and character.

Another thing I learned is that streaks are caused by not scrubbing the window thoroughly enough in the first place. You have to do more than just get the window wet and squeegee it off. You must scrub down all the bumps and hardened insect spots until they are dissolved before squeegeeing--or you will invariably have streaks.

Tonight, I applied several of the new window-washing lessons. The windows looked nice afterwards, but I have learned that early morning is the acid test. You can see every spot in the rising sun.

WITH THE OPEN HOUSE at the gardens in the review mirror, it is now time to look forward to fall at the nursery. For me, that means getting ready to teach history at UMC starting the last week in August. I also have about ten speaking engagements this fall, some of which will require preparation.

The real doozies are three motivational speeches I am supposed to deliver to continuing education conferences for teachers. I got the pamphlet today. There's my picture with a blurb on my career as an accomplished teacher and motivator! Except they somehow figured my name was Kevin Bergeson. Kevin Bergeson, motivational speaker.

I was hired for these speeches by some outfit out of the Cities. They called last winter and said somebody had recommended me as a motivational speaker. My protestations that I have never given a motivational speech in my life did nothing to deter them.

So now I have to come up with a motivational speech profound enough to merit billing as a "keynote."

The underlying dynamic here, I suspect, is that putting on continuing education conferences--so teachers can get credits to up their standing on the pay scale--has become something of a for-profit venture. The conference organizers hire speakers with nice credentials and charge attending teachers (or their school districts) a fee. The teachers get credits. The schools get to tout the ever-advancing credentials of their teachers. The speakers get a nifty honorarium. The conference organizers take in more than they pay out. Everybody's happy.

The speech has to have a serious title. But it is best if the speech itself isn't serious at all, since by the time I'll get on the stage, the poor attendees will all be bored stiff, silly, to tears and to death. So my job, if I understand it right, is to entertain while seeming to educate. Or to educate while seeming to entertain.

It really helps my somewhat shaky credentials to actually be in a classroom this fall. I can at least say I am teaching before I preach to teachers about how they should teach. But I think it will go best if I don't try to make any serious points or do any serious preaching. I'll try to have a point, but it will be pretty light and fluffy.

As you can tell, I am thinking this through as I write, trying to figure out what to do. The first speech is September 27.