Introducing N3 Contributor… Tim McGrath
I grew up in the time of Fizzies, PF Flyers, Slinkys, The Monkees on TV and Cheez Whiz. I graduated from Wyoming Park High School in the ‘burbs of Grand Rapids, and later, Calvin College. In spite of the rigorous academics I encountered in those places, I received my real education on the blueberry farms my family owned and operated near West Olive. Along the way I met and married my wife, Cheryl. We moved to Fremont in the summer of 1978 when Cheryl began her career at Gerber Products, and I began my career as a teacher in the Fremont Public School district. I’ll be forever indebted to Mr. Al Foster, who took a chance by hiring that slightly ragged young man whose grades weren’t exceptional in college, but had nice teeth and hair.
I had the opportunity to work as a special education teacher and a fourth grade teacher at Cedar Street Elementary (now Quest), Pine Street Elementary (now FPS administration), and for most of my career, DaisyBrook Elementary School. I retired from FPS in 2012 after 34 years of service in the district. What a wonderful time it was!
We have two grown children: Katey and Kevin, along with two perfect-in-every-way grandkids, Deegan and Ali.
By Tim McGrath
“Gracias, Grazie, Merci, Danke, Spasiba, Takk”
It’s the beginning of a new year and we’ve heard the call to be better people. Set those goals; make those resolutions. Gonna do it this time dag nab it; no more messing around. Sign up, swear to it, get that free app, call somebody…. So, how’s it going? Mmm,hmm, I know.
There’s this one thing that might help us be better specimens of humanity this year: it’s called Gratitude. But, let’s be honest. I, for one, am already grateful for lots of things. I’m really and truly thankful for my wife and family, friends, health, warm home, food, our country, puppies. Who can argue with this? No one can, my friends, no one. What I’m suggesting this year is we look a little closer at things swirling around in our little piece of the universe that might be overlooked, but add a certain panache to the whole thing. Mind you, the few things I present here are just the tip of my iceberg. It wouldn’t take long to add more. Join me on this odd little journey, won’t you?
Chocolate covered peanuts: There’s just something about those little chocolate dipped goobers that bring a deep sense of thankfulness. An ordinary day shines brighter when popping in a handful. That’s right, by the handful, no singles here. Then there’s the two or three that get stuck together – The Double Dutch Sweetie. Oh, yeah.
Shoelaces: Indispensible: hard to imagine a world without ‘em. If you don’t believe it, think back to the last time one broke as you were frantically getting ready to go to (fill in the blank). And, how delightful it is to string a new pair in those favorite shoes, cinch ‘em up tight, and walk a little taller. “Notice anything new?” you ask your friends.
Non-collapsible paper straws: With all the hub bub swirling around our use of plastics and its impact on the environment, whomever created the non collapsible paper straw is a genius deserving a Nobel award, seriously. Remember the flimsy ones we got with our impossible to open milk cartons at school? A few good sucks and the whole thing collapsed. Well done, sir or madam!
The little arrow next to the gas gauge on the dashboard: As a once-in-awhile car renter, I’ve been caught short too many times at gas stations in far away places. I pull up for a refill only to find the gas cap is on the opposite side of the vehicle from where I’ve guessed it to be. This requires refilling the car by stretching the hose over the trunk and, of course, finding it’s too short. Those people who had been waiting patiently in line to refill become less than amused by my shortcomings. Exasperated looks, head shaking; I don’t blame them. Then, one glorious day, like a beacon of light, I discovered the little arrow on the dash by the gas pump icon. What’s that for, I wonder. Hmmm…, could it be? Sure enough, it indeed tells what side of the vehicle the gas cap’s on. Who would’ve thought? Someone in the engineering department, that’s who. Wonderful little thing.
Consider the following. You’re talking with that one person who’s the negative nelly, the pooh-pooher, the cup-is–half empty type. Tired of hearing the same dreary chatter, you decide to try out some of your newfound favorites. How about: “Hey, I am so grateful for zippers. No more fumbling around with clunky buttons on everything. And, what about those aglets? Can you imagine the mess our shoestrings’d be without them? And, don’t even get me going about Velcro. Life sure is good, isn’t it?” you say.
You get the big idea here. I’d wager if we met over coffee or a beer, we could go on for hours playing the “I can top that one” game (especially if it’s over beer). At the end, though, I think we’d be smiling, and maybe just that much happier. Who knows? So, what do you say; what little things will be on your gratitude list? You can start this anytime; could be June, or tomorrow. There’s no quiz later, either.
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