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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Second Helping

The really great thing about Old Country Buffet is that you can go back for a second helping of rich chocolate cake with a dollop of creamy vanilla frozen yogurt. The really bad thing about Old Country Buffet is that you can go back for a second helping of rich chocolate cake with a dollop of creamy vanilla frozen yogurt.

That segue into this paragraph is probably not as smooth as the frozen yogurt on my chocolate cake, but we’re here.  And we’re talking about the tiny seats on the school bus in which I rode on Friday.  Really! The seats were made for mini muffins.  The  extra wide aisle to accommodate the wheel chairs forces the bench to be much smaller and only allows for two small children.   

When my new little friend across the wide aisle verbally instructed me to fasten my seat belt?  I smiled meekly and didn’t let her see me roll my eyes.  Hey sweetie….fat Chance. In addition to the squeeze, there wasn’t anywhere near enough strap. 

Riding with handicapped students on a bus is just one of the experiences afforded me through my on call status with the school district. I’ve been learning a great deal about special education and the children who receive it.  What really surprised me are the people who provide it. They work hard for rare moments.  They get discouraged but don’t stop.  They smile. They encourage.  I think they cry when no one is looking.
And more than anything, I can see that the really bad thing about their jobs is also the really great thing about their jobs. 
*  *  *
Ps.  No, I do not plan to try and fill the shoes of one of these people.  I already know I don’t fit in their seats. (Thank you Old Country Buffet.)

23 comments:

Shelby said...

mmmmmmmmmm buffet with chocolate cake and all the special love surrounding it.. very special indeed. :)

Jenni said...

What a beautiful post. I'm thankful for the people who do this job. Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher, and I think it takes someone very special to teach these students. Like all children, they deserve someone who is patient and kind no matter the situation or what they are feeling like that day.

grammy said...

So funny. My MIL loves that place. Last time we took her there, she filled a plate with desserts. Like 5 of them. I thought she might just keel over right there. She is 88 and already very round LOL.

My daughter has worked for 2 years now as a para in a special Ed high school class. Last year she was one of 5 and this year because of budget cuts, there are only two. That is crazy. When I hear stories about what she does all day, I can't believe they can get by legally with only 2 paras. Yes, she does receive many blessings, but boy is she tired at the end of the day.

I can just see you in that bus seat (o:

Rayne said...

One of the most rewarding experiences I ever had was working with children with Down's Syndrome for one summer when I was 16. There was some concern about me being Autistic and able to handle the job but I loved it. I was so inspired and so moved by the strength and love displayed by both the people with Down's Syndrome and the people who worked with them.

Janis said...

HMMMM Old Tyme Buffet...we have on just a few blocks away from here...we try to stay away at all cost! The food is so good and its to hard to resist going back for seconds.

My Daughter is finding out about the special needs program...she is a school bus driver and sometimes gets the special needs kids...being around these kids is a lesson in humility n thankfulness.

Coffeypot said...

Not me. I had to ride a school bus from the Lockheed parking lot to NAS Atlanta for the air show. At 6'4, It was like aiming a rifle. I was looking between my knees with my feet in the air banging my butt. My daughter was laughing at me the whole way. We walked the three miles back to the car in 95 humid degree heat.

JoeinVegas said...

It's that low fat frozen yogurt. Skip that and you can have three pieces of cake.

Gattina said...

Not everybody is able to do such a job mentally and physically. I admire those people, but I could never do it myself.
Fortunately we don't have an Old Country buffet here !

bermudabluez said...

I'm not familiar with that Buffet, but the food sounds delish!! I, too, admire the people who teach special ed. They are a special brand of people with unbelievable patience.

foam said...

yumm, chocolate cake with frozen yogurt. i'd definitely be going for a 2nd helping myself.
i teach students like this. they are mainstreamed into my regular art classes. and yes, i have tremendous respect for those that teach them on a daily basis.

PEA said...

Oh great, now I'm drooling all over my keyboard, thanks to you! hehe I love buffets but can usually only eat one plate full...ahem...never mind what size the plate is!!!! lol

I admire anyone who works with special needs children/adults. My friend June does volunteer work with the elderly, many of whom are in wheelchairs and have dementia...I helped her one day and I tell ya, I couldn't do it again. I get too emotional seeing them like that. xoxo

Wendster said...

So clever of you to tie in the really good thing/really bad thing about Buffet world with the really good thing/really bad thing about their job.

nice writing woman!

Now ... let's go have some frozen yogurt.

Wendster said...

and yes ... the seats are clearly to blame.

hee hee.

It couldn't be the size of our butts. How can we challenge the data presented by our eyes and measuring tapes? There MUST be a way. lol.

I'll keep looking while I'm out hiking.

But maybe I'll find a smaller butt as I walk.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Indeed it takes dedicated people with small butts, but in a pinch the ones with bigger butts work too! Amazing people:)

willowtree said...

Heart-warming, if somewhat fattening.

Kila said...

Those students are blessed to have you along! Wish I could hire you for Fire. ;)


My boys LOVE Old Country Buffet!!

Kathleen said...

Awww..... What good heart you have to help out and heck, you deserve that cake as do all those others who help, teach, assist or whatever it is they do.

12ontheinside said...

Don't know that buffet but I sure know about not fitting in seats! :)
Sounds like a really rewarding thing you're doing there.

Merle said...

Hi Pamela ~~ There are some very good people in this world and the folks that care for the handicapped -children and adults. I smiled about you not fitting the seat.
Glad you liked the story of Jasmine. It was quite popular one.
Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

The Church Lady said...

You are right, Pamela, working with the special needs kids can be very rewarding and disheartening at the same time.

p.s. If you have time, join us for Fun Monday. I'm hosting.

Intense Guy said...

I'm surprised they use small seats on a school bus. I remember the one I rode on to Elementary School being the same one the High School kids rode - and my feet never touching the floor.

I heap my plate really high so I don't have a second helping. :) Just so you know, that doesn't work too well either.

Peter said...

"I already know I don’t fit in their seats."
Now that was funny enough... but then you added the killer punch... (Thank you Old Country Buffet) Very good.

Moi said...

The chocolate cake is not the lasting impression Old Country Buffet made on me. Rather it was the feverishly frequent stops my body demanded starting about an hour after eating. I'd probably have been ok if I had stuck to the chocolate cake and ice cream!