Thursday, 13 January 2011

Not over the hill yet

We are in danger of finishing a meeting on time.  It’s the end of a long day of note taking, roleplay activities, group discussions, and more note taking for the region’s Head Teachers.  The Regional Education Officer winds up her speech and I get ready to stand for the last verse of the national anthem, the usual finish to any meeting.  But no – there’s something else that wasn’t on the agenda.  I had been wondering why I had seen one of the recently retired head teachers lurking at the back.  Surely head teacher meetings are not so much fun you would want to keep coming after retirement?

It turns out that a group of the head teachers have put together a special programme to honour two of their recently retired colleagues.  The retirement age here is 55, but from their appearance and energy levels you would put both ladies in their early forties.  They are dazzling in coordinated red and black attire.  The programme includes heartfelt and tear-stained speeches, poems, songs, an acrostic – ‘R is for robust, rambunctious, resplendent Rosie’ – and a dramatic skit.  The love and respect felt for the retirees is palpable.

Finally comes the giving of gifts.  Two male head teachers have the task of presenting the tokens of appreciation – a set of jewelled gold earrings each.  Rose, known for bringing laughter, warmth and a wonderful line in topical poems to liven up every meeting, is up first. She removes her earrings and tilts her head to let her presenter carefully begin putting the new pair in.  The room collectively holds its breath as the heavily emotional proceedings of the afternoon come to a head.

Rose, always blessed with perfect timing, chips in:
“Now we see if he knows fi find de hole.”

The resulting shrieks of laughter must have been audible in England.

1 comment:

  1. or did we hear the shrieks when he found de hole? Great story, great people.