Jethro was undoubtedly gifted with his
math abilities. It didn't matter if it was calculus, trigonometry, advanced
algebra, physics or whatever. He was a genius. Many days found him in the
study hall working problems for all the math students in the small
engineering college. The learners would congregate around his table while
he reigned, supreme, king of the math world. The youth worshiped and knelt
at his feet in order to get help with their home work. The off handed way
he worked with pencil and paper while he calculated unbelievable
abstractions, was a sight to see. The long equations tired his hand and he
then switched to the other hand since he was also, ambidextrous. Myra loved
to watch the arrogance of the young man's action. He was in his element and
he knew he was “the man.”
cocky but capable young man like all of us, though, had a nemesis. She came
in the way of a petite, ninety-year old woman, who was his physics
professor. The woman was so decrepit and aged no one believed she would know
how to discipline this person who was so convinced of his own superiority.
This tiny woman, who dealt with motion and force, was the one capable of
structure for living and life. Her walk was one of a decidedly, elderly
person. Tiny steps took her down the corridors. She kept her head down and
watched carefully the path she had to travel. Was this from her
osteoporosis or for a need to take care with her walking to keep from
falling? A slender frame seemed too delicate to function amidst the young
people who studied with her.
Jethro was normally in a good mood.
Rarely did he ever complain about anything. It was true he was slipping
through his schooling on shaky legs, too. The boy came from a conservative
family who really didn't worry much about their son's drive and desire to
become educated. This had not mattered to him. He drove his old car, kept to
the boarding house he had rented at low dollar prices and managed spending
money by working part time at a filling station.
“I'm going to tear that old woman
apart!” Jethro spoke in a voice loud enough for his professor to hear.
“Jethro!” Myra was surprised. “Can't
believe you are fussing with that little old woman.”
“She gave me a “B” on my test.”
Jethro's attitude was one between disbelief and shock that he, the great,
kingly genius had been given a “B.”
“Maybe she is trying to make a
point.” Myra had to make an observation about Jethro's conduct.
“What point? Excuse me if I don't
see through her methods.” Jethro was livid.
“Do you think she is trying to tell
you to let the kids do their own work and thinking?”
A look of sudden awakening was upon
the face of the once proud authority as understanding settled into Jethro's
As it happened the couple wound
their way through the busy, wide corridors of the hall way always a bit
behind the little teacher. They were now standing on the inside of the tall,
sliding glass doors looking out to the menagerie of people who were trying
to brave a sudden blizzard like storm that was making it difficult for any
who were parked on the street to move their cars. All the slipping and
sliding made the stack up of cars happen as they spun this way and that.
The little professor took her tiny,
close steps and walked gingerly to the trunk of her car. In one arm she
clasped the papers from the class she had just finished. Where she had
stashed her car keys
was anyone's guess, but she now was opening the trunk of her car with them.
Jethro did not take his eyes off her
actions. He was carefully watching and wondering what her next move was
going to be.
She reached into the trunk of her car
and retrieved a small sack of something. Now she was walking to the back
wheel of her car. With one frail, bony hand she took a handful of sand and
sprinkled it in on the ground in front of the wheel. Each wheel in turn was
treated with its own means for their traction on this icy, slick, road.
She got into her car and easily drove
away from the curb. Everyone else was spinning tires with the rear ends of
their cars fish tailing this way and that. It was just too much for Jethro
He narrowed his eyes to slits as he
watched her car easily travel down the slick street. “Tear that little woman
up. That's exactly what I'm going to do.” But this time he had a tinge of
respect in his voice as he spoke.