Write Again …The Picker and the Pickee

Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Thomas was a really nice, mild-mannered young boy. He was a student in one of my seventh and eighth grade classes at Pantego, 1973-4.

“Pantego? You taught at Pantego?”

Well, for one year. It was a real “rescue” for me, as I had lost my job at a man-made fiber company located in Enka.

You see, I had left the profession of education to ply my self-perceived talents in the corporate world of Public Relations. That’s another story, not my best one, either.

One aspect of it, as I mentioned, a really important one in several ways, was losing my position with American Enka. In all, a thousand or more employees at the company’s several facilities in NC, SC, and TN fell victim to a powerful economic downturn. A ripple effect, you might say. A difficult time, for sure.

“What about Thomas? Where were you going with that?”

Yes. I became a bit off-topic there, but there is connectivity in this story.

Now. About Thomas. There was some situation, not physical, where he was being picked on by someone. Memory doesn’t serve me well enough to relate the specifics. The situation evidently resolved itself peacefully.

Later when I was telling Frank Ambrose, our assistant principal, who also taught math, about it, I told him the name of the student who was giving Thomas a hard time.

I referred to that lad as the “picker” and Thomas as the “pickee”. When Frank and I thought about those designations we both saw the element of humor in it.

Now, I hope I wasn’t a “picker” in my growing up days, but I certainly know I wouldn’t have enjoyed being a “pickee”. No way.

Mr. Joe Windley was our principal, a good man. Frank Ambrose, and Albert Baker, a teacher and coach (a couple of state championships in basketball) were good men, whom I respected and called friends.

Those three men have passed away. I do not know where Thomas may be. My hope is that he’s still with us and doing well.

That’s my story, friends. I would think just about everyone has one or more stories they recall during their own journeys through life.

If you’re a mind to, come on back here next weekend. You hear?

May the coming week be a good one, for all of us.