The Field Trip

“Good morning, Miss Dalrymple. I’m sorry to have to bring you in today,” Vice Principal Greenleaf said in his most solemn voice.
“Morning, sir. Don’t be sorry. My old auntie Daisy always said any day you wake up is a good day.”
The young teacher’s cheerful disposition radiated in the shaded administrative office. Greenleaf adjusted his tie with nervous fingers.
“So would you like to explain your side of the events from Friday’s field trip?” Greenleaf tented his hands, the picture of solemnity.
Folding her arms, Dalrymple smiled sweetly. “No not really.”
“What! You! what,” the vice principal spluttered. “I’ve been flooded with complaints from upset parents this morning. Don’t you want to defend yourself.”
Dalrymple smiled more sweetly. “No, sir, not really.”
They stared across Greenleaf’s nicely polished black walnut desktop. Greenleaf raked his hair then smoothed it.
“Okay okay Miss Dalrymple, what happened at the gallery on Friday.”
“I took my fifth grade class to the children’s book illustration exhibit at the Honeycutt Museum. Lovely exhibit and my kids will be making their own books this week. I want them to tell their own stories, sir. The installation was in the John William Wilcox room in the Norton wing and of course I explained how Wilcox was this county’s sheriff was known for letting Boss Man Norton get away with literal murder and these families both made money exploiting sharecroppers. And that money brought respectability and prestige.” The teacher continued smiling with serious cool eyes.
“Now Miss Dalrymple can I call you Dahlia? Dahlia don’t you think that went too far? We don’t want to stir up bad feelings or make people uncomfortable.”
“Well Nathan I wasn’t stirring. I was teaching local history. It’s important to know where we are by understanding where we come from. I’ve got 24 kids and they went home excited to write, excited to ask their families about their histories. Maybe one of my kids will be a writer or a historian maybe we will hear stories from people whose stories we never hear. I had over twenty positive emails this weekend so no stirring, just teaching Nathan.”
Mouth agape, vice principal Greenleaf slumped back.
“I better run along now. I have to prepare the paperwork for our next trip. We’re going to the library, the Robert E. Lee Memorial library. Morning Nathan.”

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