The last six weeks of the school year is always a mad rush to get everything done. There are units to finish teaching, assessments to give and correct, report cards to fill out, field trips, special school activities, and all the hundreds of little details of closing out your classroom before the summer break. Even after 23 years of teaching, it still all takes my breath away. That’s what I’ve been feeling this week: breathless.
So it was a miracle, and a pleasure, that I was even able to read a book this week. And no surprise that it was Alexander McCall Smith’s new book, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. As anyone who loves his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series knows, these books are perfect antidotes to all the hustle, bustle, and stress of everyday life. I enjoyed it immensely. It reminded me to focus on what’s really important in life; it inspired me with wonderful little nuggets of wisdom and common sense; and it warmed my heart with it’s gentle kindness. And because this is a week of remembering my Dad (today would have been his 89th birthday), I was particularly touched by Mma Ramotswe’s memories of her own beloved father, who is also late.
She closed her eyes. She was standing next to her father, the late Obed Ramotswe, that great man, and he was handing her an ice cream. He was wearing his hat, his battered old hat that he wore until the day he went into hospital for the last time. And he smiled at her from underneath the brim of that old hat, and the sun was behind him, high in the sky, and the ice cream tasted sweeter and purer than anything else she had ever tasted in her life. She would give anything — anything — to have her father back with her, just for a day, so that she could tell him about how her life had been and how she owed everything to him and to his goodness to her.