Ode on an Oreo Cookie Package

Or, A Vision in a Chocolate Dream. A Fragment.

In the spring of the year 2012, the Author, then bogged down by a surfeit of papers to grade, had retired to her lonely home between Roosevelt and Geneva, in the Wheaton confines of DuPage County. In consequence of this slight indisposition, a naptime having been called for, in the effect of which she feel asleep in her chair at the moment she was reading the following sentence, or words of the same substance, on an empty Oreo package: “Milk’s Favorite Cookie.” The author continued for about three hours in a profound sleep, at least of the external senses, during which time she has the most vivid confidence, that she could not have composed less than from two to three hundred lines; if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before her as things, with a parallel production of the correspondent expressions, without any sensation or consciousness of effort. On awakening she appeared to herself to have a distinct recollection of the whole, and taking her remote keyboard into her lap, instantly and eagerly typed out the words that are here preserved. At this moment she was unfortunately texted by a person on business from Elmhurst, and detained by the series of messages above an hour, and on return to her computer, found, to her no small surprise and mortification, that though she still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a glass of milk into which an Oreo has been dunked, but, alas! without the after restoration of the latter.

Thou long-since ravished bride of yumminess,
Thou foster-child of cookie and of cream,
Snack time’s historian, who canst thus express
A chocolate tale more tasty than this theme...

O rounded shape! Fair circle! with sable
Shields ensconcing niveous sustenance,
For which hands do reach across the table –
These thou seem’st to offer, but their absence
Rends my cold heart – thou hast me in thy thrall!
Though some do try to minimize their waste,
Thou shalt remain, in landfills vast, I trow,
And therein, though crumpled, to man thou say’st,
Chocolate is truth, truth chocolate, -- that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Institute Day

A few times each year, teachers gather for a variety of meetings and presentations in order to help us become better educators. It’s a win-win situation.

My students sometimes wonder what happens when we teachers go to school without them.

I’m a nephalist, actually (that word is way cooler than “teetotaler”), but if anything were to drive me to the pewter pot, institute day just might do the trick.

Take today, for example. Pretty much all the schools in the county kicked out their kids so we could hold department-specific gatherings. Like always, I had a difficult time choosing which seminar to attend.

As usual, however, my compunction won out and I went to the Language Arts meeting after all. In fact, I looked forward to it: it was held at my old high school,

organized by my favorite English teacher ever,

and boasted a creative, if misleading, title.

The opening session was held in the auditorium.

Then came three break-out opportunities. My posse and I divided and conquered, and we compared notes between events.

At 2:00 we returned to the auditorium to watch a dramatization of the life of Mark Twain. Because teachers are much like students, most of the audience sat toward the back.

So we did.