I have no time for any Education Deformer today. I will not rage against the machine this day. I'd rather write about shoes, and the pages of the lives we chose to live. I'd rather write about a man who was bigger than life, and never once passed a standardized test, but passed every test of love, honor, and dignity placed before him.
My grandfather said he judged a person by the wear on their shoes and the books they carried. The more worn the shoes, and dog-eared the pages in their books, the more he thought of them. my soul.
On his death bed he asked me to read William Butler Yeats to him. He was a World War I war veteran, his schooling ended in grade 6, but his education never ended. No longer able to stand in his well worn shoes on his last morning, he handed me his worn and torn, dog-eared book of Yeats poems.
"I can't see the lines any more."
" I can't see the page numbers"
" Little Jess, read me that Yeats poem 'A terrible beauty is born.'
I want to hear you read it to me”
So through my tears I read it like a prayer. I put my heart, my soul, and a 100 memories of him reading it to me into that reading. I watched as he drew his last breath. His last breath both broke and made me.
My roots grew strong in his presence. Although I have a few academic degrees, I am not a man of degrees.
Like him, I am a man with worn shoes, and the dog-eared pages of books that tell my story. I am a boy who knew a man with worn shoes and books full of dog-eared pages. A boy who knew a gentle giant he misses dearly. A boy who sometimes, while walking among the tress hears a voice calling "little Jess read to me".
So friends, find some time to walk among the trees, and fold a few pages in those books you carry.
Jesse The Walking Man Turner