My first car was a 1986 blue Honda Prelude and I loved that car.
I’d been teaching for a year and decided I could afford it.
I’d miss the moon roof and the woodgrain paneling and the eight-track tape deck on the 1970 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon I’d been driving since my junior year of high school, but I loved my new blue Prelude.
So you can imagine how worried I was when my brand new tires kept going flat.
Almost every day I had to stop by the gas station on my way to work to air up the tires.
Finally one morning when I wasn’t running as late as I usually was, I glanced down at the front tire on the driver’s side and discovered a nail. A nail carefully poised to puncture the tire the minute I backed up. And there were three more, one behind each tire.
I don’t remember how I caught them. Maybe they squirmed in their desks the day I told my high school speech class about my flat tire predicament. Or maybe they finally confessed. I don’t know.
But the same two boys who put those nails under my tires night after night, were the same ones who set the alarm clock in my hotel room to go off at three in the morning when we traveled to speech tournaments. We’d have a team meeting in my room after we arrived at the hotel and while one of them distracted me with a question after the meeting, the other one would set the alarm. It only took one time of showering and being ready to go at 4 a.m. before I wised up to that little trick.
You don’t forget students like that.
You don’t forget the boys who were “Hans and Franz,” the German weight lifters from Saturday Night Live in the eighties.
You don’t forget how much they made you laugh.
They’re both teachers now and I couldn’t be more proud.
This past week I got to spend time with one of them who’s a college theatre director in Tennessee. It was sweet to sit there over breakfast and hear about his family, his work, his faith. Priceless to hold his hand as he blessed that meal.
But don’t think it didn’t cross my mind to find out where his car was parked.