One of these days I might actually write my own stories here on medium. In the meantime I’m just enjoying the prompts that others provide.

In 1992, when I was 38 years old and between marriages, I left the big city and the big money and tried my hand at school teaching. Cotula, Texas, is a dusty little town of about 3000 mostly Spanish speaking Tejano folks located about half way between the border town of Laredo to the south and San Antonio to the north. They loved their elementary school principal who wasn’t shy about discipline. It was a great place to start teaching since the kids knew that if I sent them to the office they would likely get paddled first and then asked about what happened later. Also, it didn’t hurt that the kids all knew that their six foot tall ranching stock principal had led her college softball team to a state championship.

Half my 4th grade class had relatives in Chicago harkening back to the days when many South Texas families were migrant farm workers who followed the crops north and south through the breadbasket each year.

In early November a little gang-banger-wanna-be recently arrived from Chicago showed up in class. I’ll call him Felix Martinez for this recollection, but I can’t remember for sure if that is his real name or not. This caused a disruption in the “force” as Obi-Wan Kenobi was fond of saying. In hindsight I suppose Felix was extorting pocket money from the kids; but one day Felix picked on the wrong person.

Elizabeth Ramos (maybe Rodriguez, but I’m pretty sure it was Elizabeth) inherited a body developed by her indigenous ancestors as they tilled hillsides and hauled water in the mountains of central Mexico for thousands of years. Stout, low center of gravity, core strength, and sinewed muscle. An angelic face and beautiful long jet black hair pulled back into a single braid down her back is what a boy would have noticed. However, she would have been in the same weight class as Felix had their fight been sanctioned by the boxing authorities.

From the corner of my eye I saw him get up into her face. She stepped back, but never lost her focus. He sent a full force straight right hand punch towards her face which she instantly bobbed to her left to avoid and then immediately countered with an even more forceful right hand of her own which drove square into Felix’s nose sending him slamming into the wall behind him. Though quite stunned, he had enough consciousness to slide down the wall slowly onto his butt while his eyes rolled around like a new born baby’s and his nose bled profusely.

The class suppressed a cheer but they were definitely all smiles. I asked Felix if he would rather go to the principal’s office or the nurse. He mumbled nurse. I then told the class that in honor of Felix’s decision to be nice and friendly instead of mean, there would not be any more homework assigned for the rest of the week (it was Thursday and I never gave weekend homework anyway). Then I asked Elizabeth if she would be so kind as to show Felix where the nurse’s office was. Felix was a perfect gentleman for the rest of the year.

SGI Buddhist, Loves Irish and Latin American Literature, History buff, knows a great deal about Medicare

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