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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Posts from the Past. A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Hello Troops,
I had a few minutes of quiet at my desk and filled them by reading some of my old YahooGroup posts from years ago. I thought you might enjoy them as well. The first is a short story about Sam Brady. The second is one of our delicious "Vomit" stories. I'm hoping you're having a super duper weekend.

Mr. W.

September 23, 2006

Sam Was Amazed

Mr. Daymont told me about a recent Magellan mission. It was a mixed group of
adults and children. One of the adults just returned from serving in Iraq. Part way
through the mission and during the staff's attempt to take the bridge something
happened that caused Mr. Daymont to push the emergency stop button to the

On the control room screen Mr. Daymont saw the ex-army crew member jump up on the Magellan's brand new desktops and jump from station to station. He was leaping
across the room to reach the entrance the staff were using to attack from. His phaser
was drawn and ready to neutralize attacking enemy.

Mr. Daymont stopped the mission and brought the situation to a resolution. A
lecture was given on safety and respect for Space Center property. The mission
resumed. After the crew left Mr. Daymont questioned Sam, Magellan's Bridge Supervisor.

"Did you see him?" Mr. Daymont asked.
"Yes," Sam responded.
"Why didn't you stop him?" Mr. Daymont continued the questioning.
"I was amazed," Sam responded. "I was amazed."
I would have been amazed as well. I got a chuckle out of Sam's response and
therefore Sam is back in Mr. Williamson's good graces.

July 23, 2006

What's In The Sink!?

Again, just when you think you've seen and heard everything something happens at the Center that makes you chuckle. Thursday's Overnight Camp was underway. The 43 campers were divided neatly into their simulator teams and led from the gym toward the restrooms and wonderland. I was the last out of the gym. I stopped to turn off the lights doing what I could to conserve electricity. July seemed to be the hottest month in Utah. The school's air conditioners were running around the clock. The district issued orders for conservation. I moved up the hall passing Stacy and the Galileo Crew. Chris and the Odyssey was next. At the junction, to the left, I found Kyle and the Voyagers. I turned to the right for the Briefing Room passing Mr. Daymont and the Magellanites. I reviewed his crew as I passed. They looked to be a very energetic group primarily composed of boys. Halfway through the review I stopped noticing one young boy, ten years old I guessed, squatted down on the floor. His head was in his hands. He looked ill.

"Are you OK?" I asked.
"I'm weak. I think it's hunger," the boy responded in very proper English. I continued
toward the Briefing Room knowing I hadn't seen the last of that young man. There was something in his look that told me our paths were going to cross again before
10:00 A.M. the following morning.

I placed the Rank Papers on my desk and walked toward the Briefing Room. I was
going to model the Briefing of Epsilon for Kyle. Kyle was going to run the mission for the first time, preparing for this week's Leadership Camp. The Epsilon briefing went well. The crew was attentive and engaging. I noticed the clock at the end and realized I went over again - nothing unusual considering my inborn ability to talk and talk and talk and talk. The crew filed out with Kyle. I was gathering their Rank Papers when Brent walked into Discovery with news that the young boy I had meet earlier in Magellan's crew lineup had a stomach eruption. My intuition was spot on. Our paths had crossed again.

"Where did he throw up?" I asked.
"In the bathroom," he responded. "Don't worry, he made it to the sink but the sink is
pretty disgusting."
"I'll take care of it," I said. My first stop was to Mr. Daymont with instructions the boy
was to call home. I went into the bathroom and walked over to the sink which held the
remains of the boy's supper. "Noodles," I thought. It looked like Top Ramen. Partly
digested I guessed from the state of digestion. The smell wasn't too bad. The boy had
eaten a lot from the look of it. I was impressed, especially remembering the boy was very small in stature. I considered my options for clean up. I was inclined to assigned this mess to someone else but who would want to clean up that disgusting mess? I
decided to clean it up myself. I believe a leader should lead by example. The staff
needed to see that I was more than willing to muck in like them and clean up even the most disgusting mess. That is the definition of leader. You lead by example. You let your troops know that you are not above getting your hands mucky when needed.

I gathered a bucked, paper towels, and Liquid 409 - my personal favorite cleaning
solution. Like a knight venturing into the cave to battle the dragon I entered the bathroom rubber gloved, armed and ready to engage the beast from within! The slaying went faster than I thought. I didn't gag once. I left the sink spotless and smelling fresh of 409. With the sink's disgusting contents safely secure in the bucket, my next stop was the dumpster outside.

"You cleaned it up yourself?" Brent asked as I passed Discovery.
"You don't ask your staff to do something you aren't willing to do yourself," I answered pleased that I had a chance to deliver the object lesson. The bucket was left in the custodian's closet full of bleach water. I went to find the boy. I sat him down at the desk in front of mine. We tied to call his parents. There was no answer. He was feeling much better. You could see color in his face.

"You're feeling better then?" I asked him.
"Yes, I'm feeling much better, thank you," he answered. Again I was impressed with his politeness - especially coming from an 11 year old whose upper chest and head
were the only parts of his body visible above the gray desktop designed for children his age.

"Is this the only time you threw up today then?" I asked wondering whether it was just something in his supper that disagreed with his digestion or perhaps there was
an illness we needed to address.

"Just this once," he responded. His eyes met mine as he took a breath preparing to go
into more detail. "You see, it is my dad fault."

I sat back wondering where this line of conversation was going to lead but after starting it I was ready to ride it to completion.

"What do you mean your dad's fault?" I questioned.
"He cooked supper," he stated matter of factly without the slightest emotion as if what
happened was common knowledge to anyone that knew his family. "I throw up every
time he cooks," he finished the thought.

I rudely started laughing realizing the gem of memory I was living through.
"Are you sure it wasn't just the Top Ramen and not your dad's cooking that made you
throw up?" I asked helping him understand that his father can't be blamed for his disliking of the food.

"No, I'm afraid it is my dad's cooking," he corrected me and continued, "My mom cooks Top Ramen and I don't throw up. I only throw up when my dad cooks. It doesn't matter what it is - I throw up. He is a bad cook."

I started laughing again. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders as if to say that is just
the way it is. I sent him on his way back to the Magellan. He was fine and a survivor of his father's failure to cook even the simplest of dishes. We spoke once again Friday morning during breakfast in the cafeteria. I was preparing to draw breakfast to a close and move the campers to their ships when a boy walked up to me with something in his hands. They were cupped in front of his mouth.

"I've had an accident," he said. "I caught all of it in my hands," he continued. From the look of his hand's contents I understood we were suffering from a rash of
eruptions. I sent the boy to the bathroom and turned to dismiss the first crew when something pink caught my eye on the floor between two tables. From all appearances the boy hadn't caught everything in his hands. I walked over to the puddle to be sure. Yes, vomit - pure and simple. Standing near the accident was my Top Ramen friend from the night before.

"It wasn't me this time," he said with a smile.
" I know," I reassured him. "Are you sure you dad's not in the back cooking our
breakfast?" I responded. We both laughed. I dismissed the crews and went for the
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