UNCLE CHUCK

Folder: 
PAST POMES

 

sipping on

an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout

and beginning

to wax nostalgic

for the old high school days

 

I learned a lot

about Russian history

and Father Gregory Rasputin

from a 9th grade

social studies teacher

obsessed with Russian history

 

he taught us

Ivan the Great

Ivan the Terrible

& Kinky Cathy—

Catherine the Great

 

he sponsored

an Ivan the Terrible

torture contest

which I, of course, won

 

I’ve long since renounced

human cruelty

around the same time

I renounced

the Catholic Church

 

(the two seem

to go hand in hand)

 

this guy was a trip

and pretty much

everyone in class

called him Uncle Chuck

 

I remember a couple years

later

working third shift

as a busboy

at a local diner

and he came in 3 AM

for some breakfast

 

he was approaching

a state of drunkenness

and I said “Hello”

but knowing

to keep this a secret

 

hey, it was Saturday night

on his own time

anyway

but school boards

don’t always see it that way

 

but in his defense

I have to say

I retained more knowledge

from his class

than just about

any other class I had

 

I guess that

should count

for something

School is supposed

to prepare kids for life

 

I wasn’t old enough

that night at the diner

but tonight I raise

my beer glass in a toast,

Uncle Chuck,

for a job well done.

 

5-25-98

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

fond memories of my 9th grade social studies teacher

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