True Confessions of a Teacher the Last Day before Christmas Break

by Jeanette Levellie

My palms were sweating. “I’ve got to get this car to the median,” I thought, looking over my shoulder at three lanes of early morning L.A. traffic. “I need a miracle like the parting of the Red Sea.” Wait, wrong Bible story. This was December 20th. How about a miracle similar to finding a birthing manger in Bethlehem?

“Whatever—just help me get to school on time, Lord.”

It was the last day of school before Christmas vacation. My students had always been generous in past years, but I knew they’d pour on the presents today, since it was my final year teaching at the small private school my kids attended before we moved across the country.

I wasn’t fretting over leaving my teens at home alone while I dashed my husband to the train station, or the expense of fixing whatever troubled our sick car. I was thinking of those beribboned boxes of stationery I’d regift at the next Missionary Mamas Christmas party; the “Best Teacher” mugs I’d drink from twice before giving them to Goodwill;  and the matching sets of dish towels I’d put in a drawer to give my kids’ teachers next Christmas. The thought of missing all that loot made me want to cry.

As I put the car in neutral and opened the door to begin pushing, a pickup truck pulled up behind me, the driver motioning me to get back in so he could push me from behind. I was able to turn the corner and ease the car to a stop. I smiled as I waved my thanks to the kind driver, noticing the embroidered name on his blue uniform: CLARENCE. “Thanks, Lord,” I chuckled.

By the time I jogged the quarter mile home, more than my palms were sweating, but I didn’t have time to change clothes. Those gifts were waiting.

My sixteen-year-old daughter was thrilled that she got to drive us to school in her car. Her younger brother was not amused. “Mom, the last time Ruthie drove, she went the wrong way up a one-way street and nearly killed us!”

“We’ll just have to risk it, Ben. I may never have another bonanza like this again. I have to get while the getting is good.” He sighed, and grabbed two overstuffed pillows from the couch on his way out the door. This was the dark ages, before airbags.

We made it to school in record time, with only one mishap—a scratch on the passenger side from a holly bush in a residential neighborhood. “Don’t’ worry, honey,” I crooned to Ruthie, “it’s hard to judge your speed when you’re turning corners. Those people shouldn’t have planted that bush so close to the sidewalk, anyway.”

As Ben staggered out of the back seat, still clutching his pillows, he moaned and slapped his forehead. “We forgot our lunches, Mom. You made us go in such a hurry; we left them on the kitchen table. I can’t make it ‘til 3:30 with nothing to eat!”

I put my arm around his shoulder as we walked into the building together. “Don’t worry, son. I’m counting on at least three boxes of See’s candy and two fruitcakes. I’ll share with you, okay?”

A spunky pastor’s wife of thirty-six years, Jeanette has published articles, greeting card verses, stories and calendar poems.  She authors a bi-weekly humor/inspirational column in her local newspaper, and enjoys speaking to church and civic groups, offering hope and humor in every message. She is the mother of two, grandmother of three, and waitress to several cats. Her debut book Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top releases in April 2012. Find her mirthful musings at www.jeanettelevellie.com


  1. Thanks for sharing, Jen! I suppose you all had a sugar high later that day. I wonder, does fruitcake have any protein in it? :)

  2. Why, yes, Karen, if it's made right, it has walnuts or pecans. And yes, we have a sugar high from Dec. 13th to Jan. 3rd at my house...

  3. Oh, Jen, thanks for the chuckle! You were on the cutting edge of the re-gifting craze. :)

  4. Oh, man. there is no way I would have shared my boxes of Sees Candy! You are a saint!

  5. I'm not sure what Sees Candy is, but looks like it is good! :)

  6. Susan: That was a slight exagerration, of course. But I'm sure all teachers do the same game--how many mugs and tea towels can one keep?

    Jan: Another exagerration. But I do love to share!

    Lynn: It's only the best hand-dipped candy west of the east, expensive and worth it!


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