Saturday, May 3, 2008

PTA Hopes

Sally looked over at the mixed crowd of parents, teachers, and various educational personnel scattered around her. Her palms were sweaty, no matter how much she wiped them on her nicely fitted 7 jeans; she couldn't get rid of that damp clammy feeling. She felt warm and wondered if she looked as flushed and disheveled as she felt.

Principal Edward Singer was up on the podium, droning on and on about the procedures they were going to put in place to prevent further outbreaks of lice at the school. To date there were four kids in two classrooms quarantined at home until they were lice-free. Sally made a mental note to check Madison's hair tomorrow morning then refocused herself on her impending moment of truth. The Glenwood Ridge School PTA meeting was about to come to the miscellaneous portion of the agenda. Sally quickly glanced at the thick stack of white notecards she'd been clutching to assure herself that she was ready to plead her case. She'd been readying herself for this moment for a long time.

It all began when Madison first started eating lunch at school. She tired quickly of Sally's wholesome brown bag lunches and started asking for lunch money. Initially Sally was happy to give her the few dollars a day, as it meant one less thing for her to prepare in the morning. However, Sally quickly became appalled by the poor food options available to the students. The healthiest option was usually frozen pizza, but even that was overshadowed by Doritos, french fries, and chili dogs. No wonder obesity was becoming a crisis in America! Madison's brown bag lunches made a quick comeback, but that did not quell Sally's discomfort with the situation. Glenwood was an affluent community; they should be setting the standard for public school nutrition, not being a victim of a statewide trend. A few months ago, during what she thought was a typically one-sided conversation with her husband Larry, he interrupted her rant about the sad state of affairs in the Glenwood cafeteria with a simple, yet powerful suggestion, "Sally, why don't you stop complaining, and do something about this already." He had stunned her speechless, but her mind started working overtime immediately. Of course she could and should do something. With her degree from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) currently underutilized making Madison's brown bag lunches, she was the perfect person for the job. She would revamp the cafeteria offerings of the Glenwood Ridge Elementary School. It would probably open up a world of opportunity for her in consulting to other schools and maybe even catering! With that one little suggestion, Larry made her fall in love with him all over again.

For months, she studied the programs of cutting edge public schools around the country, beginning with Alice Water's program in California where the students grow their own produce. Now she was ready to start a food revolution right here in Glenwood. Sure, she was going to get the usual budgetary objections, and she certainly did not know how they were going to pay for any of her proposals. She did know her fellow Glenwood parents, always so proud and sanctimonious, and she was sure they would find it insufferable that other schools had superior culinary programs. Glenwood always prided itself on being one of the best schools in the state; they would not want to come up wanting in any category.

Sally was sure the people around her could hear her runaway heart thundering in her chest. The school secretary had just come to the podium to announce that anyone with miscellaneous items should raise their hand to be invited up to speak. Sally started to lift her hand, slowly, shakily at first, then higher and more confidently to gain the attention of the secretary. As Sally prepared to get up, she realized that she felt electrified and more alive than she had felt in years. She took a second to thank Larry silently again for his little suggestion. The secretary called out, "Sally Smith, you are welcome to the podium to bring up a miscellaneous item."

This was a beginning attempt at fiction based on the writing prompt MISCELLANEOUS. For more sunday scribblings on the same prompt, please visit the Sunday Scribblings blog

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