Thursday, November 21, 2019

With My Bucket Full

"Teacher Tom, look how many jewels I have."

I peered into her bucket, responding, "That's a lot of jewels." The word "jewels" referred to the colorful florist marbles that she had collected from the playground.

Her friend in turn held her bucket out to me. "Look at my jewels, Teacher Tom."

I replied, "You have jewels too."

The girls were playing a semi-competitive game, hunting as a team until a jewel was spotted. Then it became a mad dash as the girls ran, dove, elbowed, and pushed in order to secure the sparkling bit of glass treasure for their own hoard. They had been playing the game all afternoon, side-by-side. Occasionally, one would complain, "Hey, you're getting all of them," or mope, "I'm not getting any," but their words were directed to one another, not adults, which meant it was none of my business.

As they stood beside me with their buckets, one of the girls boasted, "I have more than you."

"You do not!" her friend answered hotly before continuing in a more downcast voice, "I want more."

She replied dismissively, "Well, I guess you're going to have to find more."

Her friend didn't answer, remaining glumly silent with her head down in an exaggerated show of emotion. Her friend studied her for a moment, then chirped, "I know! I could give you some of mine!" She grabbed a fistful from her bucket and dropped them into her friend's bucket, instantly cheering them both up.

"Hey, Teacher Tom, do you want to play with us?" Before I could respond she ran off, returning with an empty bucket for me.

I looked into my empty bucket and said matter-of-factly, "My bucket is empty."

They looked into my bucket. They looked into their own buckets, which now contained roughly the same number of jewels. "I know! I could give you one of mine!"

"And I can give you one of mine!"

They took turns then, adding to my bucket one jewel at a time, until I said, "Now I have enough jewels. Thank you." With that, they ran off to play their game of hunting, running, and elbowing, leaving me with my bucket full.

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