“Plays Well With Others….Well, Define “Plays Well”!

Red Rover

We were at the Campus Bible Fellowship back yard, playing “Red Rover”.  If memory serves me correctly, it was girls against guys.  Anyway, I got called over, “Red Rover, red rover, send BEAR right over!”


Well, I did a fake out…I ran right…then left…then right again…alla the time, staring at one spot in the line, while secretlly aiming for another spot….It was Eillen Harter…I pretended to run towards some other group of girls, and at the last second, ran to Eillen….


…The girl never saw it coming, and then….




Poor Eillen was airborne! 

Moral of the story:  Girls, never ask a 6′ 4″ man that weighs over 250 pouinds to “Come right over” when you play Red Rover!


Sister Mary Abram was Silent Hill before Silent Hill was cool!

One of the coolest nuns that I ever knew when I was in high school, was Sister Mary Abram.  She was cool for two reasons….First, she stimulated my interest in History and current events, and second, because she played the  Mandolin.  Now, as a gamer, I have to confess—yes, I am a fan of the Silent Hill series,

James, set to attack, encounters a Lying Figur...

James, set to attack, encounters a Lying Figure in the foggy streets of Silent Hill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and even if Silent Hill is not for you, you have to admit that there is something hauntingly beautiful about the main theme form the first game in the series:

No, wait…Sister Mary Abram was cool for a third reason…One time in class, she announced, “Michael Meyer—Starting today—you will have a three question a day limit!”  You see, I have a very analytical mind, and I love to take issues apart and hack an idea to death, even long after others in the class have moved on to the next paragraph, page or chapter.  But I can’t leave an idea alone, so one day, I actually decided to push the envelope, and dare to ask more than my allotted three.   Well, I’ll be damned if Sister Mary Abram didn’t in fact say to me,

“No—you had your three questions, no more today!”

Now, some of you might think that she was a jerk for saying that, but I respected her for it because it showed that she was a person of her word!

Now, getting back to point number two—Sister Mary Abram played the mandolin, and one time, before an all school mass, I was treated to her rendition of “Lara’s Theme” from “Dr Zhivago”:

1965 ... Julie Christie "Dr. Zhivago'

1965 … Julie Christie “Dr. Zhivago’ (Photo credit: x-ray delta one)

It was an awesome treat to listen to her play…it was almost as if she was taught the chords by Maurice-Alexis Jarre himself!

The things that you hear at your 10 year high school reunion….

This is where I graduated from High School—Waterloo Columbus High–in May of 1980.

WIKI:Columbus High School was named after Christopher Columbus, and the use of his name was meant to evoke a sense of adventure and the faith required to embark of a voyage into the unknown that has no certain end. The school mascot is the sailor, also after Columbus. School colors are kelly green and white, although, today other versions of green are accepted such as forest or hunter, while, black, and yellow are strictly prohibited as secondary colors.

You hear a lot of weird things at your high school reunion…one of them were stories about Sister Janella, who taught in the science department, and if I’m not mistaken, also monitored a home room or two, and when Tom Lind, our Sophomore English teacher left to become a Representative in the Iowa State House, Sister Janella stepped in as a substitute until Dennis Wellen was hired to take his place permanently. When the school opened in August of 1959, My sister Terry was a Sophomore, that transferred from the old Sacred Heart High School, which closed (Along with 5-6 other local parish high schools) when Columbus opened, and Sister Janella was already “Old as dirt” , as so many of my classmates remembered her.

Anyway, Sister Janella, according to one of the stories told at the reunion, comes waddling into the classroom, and gets out a movie projector, and gets it all threaded and such, and then goes up to the chalkboard, and pulls down the screen.  And while she pulls down the screen, she turns, looking away from the screen, so she doesn’t see the current Playboy bunny that somebody had stuffed up inside the period before…

…Oh it gets worse….

She the waddles like she’s the old man that Tim Conway portrayed on the Carol Burnett Show…And taking her time to get back to the projector….In the mean time, the kids are all laughing like crazy, but she ignores them, and proceeds to the movie projector….

…turns on the movie projector….

IT was only THEN that she turns around, and sees the naked woman on the screen….

So, she waddles up to the front of the classroom….

…And stands in front of the class, and bitches at them for putting the naked woman—the whole time with the damned movie projected on her face!!

Well, that was one of the “Sister Janella Stories”  The other one is a lot shorter, but just as funny….

…About once a month, we had a dress up day and it usually was on a Friday…And since Columbus was a Catholic high school, they tied in an all school mass with a pep rally afterwards.  Well, back in 1980, I thought that I went to school with all these perfect little angels….

Pft!  Not!

At our ten year reunion, I learned a few things about those um….”Angels”!!!

As I said before, Sister Janella worked primarily in the Science Department, and for awhile taught Biology.   There was a biology lab that had tons of rats and another one that was full of plants, and one of those plants was a Cannabis plant.  But Sister Janella didn’t have a clue that the Cannabis plant was the source of marijuana! 

Well, on the night before  one of those “All School Mass/Pep Rally” Fridays, four or five my “angelic” classmates broke into Sister Janella’s Biology labs and stole all of her Cannabis plants!

And you are probably already one step ahead of me in this story…Yes, you guessed it…the next day, those four or five skipped the all school mass, and sat in Lenny Wilson’s car and smoked pot…complements of Sister Janella!


  Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding

  Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

Okay, I got into one of those “What shall I write about today” moods….You know, it’s called WRITER’S BLOCK.  So, I hit some button…and WordPress  generated the above question, and I shall try my best to answer it.

Northridge Baptist Church,  Des Moines, IA

I had to be around 2002-2004-ish….I was in Sunday School, when all of a sudden, Deacon Tim Elliot runs in, and announced that the church was on fire! Well, the next five minutes were all a blur, and almost like watching a movie in slow motion, as we run upstairs to the nurseries to fetch the children out, Tim running ahead of me, and all I see are the heels of his black oxfords.  Apparently what had happened, the bricks in the old furnace had caught on fire, and the flames were spreading thru the heat ducts.   We grabbed all of the children—sometimes two under each arm, and ran outside as fast as we could.  As I remember, we stood outside, watching the building and waited for the Des Moines Fire Department to come.  Thankfully, they did go inside, checked the building, and whatever fire had started, had burned its way out, and nobody got hurt, and we resumed our Sunday School services and a few years later, the church managed to get a new boiler!

Sorry, it’s not much of a story, but you folks at WordPress asked for a heart pounding, belly twisting moment, and you got it!