Friday, April 22, 2016

I'll Never Forget Mr. Trout

I have just received some bad news. My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Trout, is not doing very well health-wise and the end is coming quickly. (He passed away on May 1, 2016) His daughter has asked that others share stories so that she can read them to him in his final days. I could share a few, but this one has shaped my life and I think of it often.

This is my Mr. Trout story:

One day, I had earned a "pop." I can't remember why I had earned it. I just remember that he would give you two quarters of his own money to go get a pop/soda/coke/whatever from the vending machine. This was back when you could drink soft drinks in school. I went and put the two quarters into the machine and grabbed my Mountain Dew. I was headed back down to the classroom. I say "down" because the hallway has two long angled sections of roughly 50' or so.

I stood at the top of the "hill."

I looked around.

I didn't see anyone.

I put my Mountain Dew on it's side at the top of the ramp.

Gave it a little tap.

Off it rolled.

I start to run after it to stop it before the bottom of the first ramp.

Right then, I hear, "Matt!" from Mrs. Neier, the secretary.

I was caught.

I grabbed the Dew and walked back up the ramp to her. She asked the stereotypical interrogation questions and sent me on. Mrs. Neier was going to call Mr. Trout.

I walked down to the room. Opened the door slowly. Walked in trying and tried to not get noticed.

That didn't work.

His glare shot disappointed rays at me. He told me to put the pop on his desk and finish my work. I did. Without a sound. I was hoping that was it. Recess was happening in a couple minutes.

The minutes went by. He told everyone to line up for recess. He then told me to get in the back of the line.

The line started moving towards the door that he was standing at. Everyone was going to recess. Mrs. Newell, the other 6th grade grade teacher, had recess duty that day.

He stopped me at the door. Looked at me right in the eye and said, "Walk with me."

We were walking side by side up to the front of the school and he put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed some. He was very strong. I can assure you of that.  He talked about choices and consequences, expectations and living up to them, doing what's right, how the impact of one little splash can ripple across an entire lake, how all it takes is one mistake to really mess something great up.

He then took me to look at something that was on the wall. He talked about the significance of that thing. The price that needed to be paid to earn it. That goals matter. That things are attainable for those that work hard. That the future is determined by our actions. To think deeply about things and their impact on your future self.

At the end, he then told me he believed in me and that I could be successful if I didn't do dumb things. He then released the grip he still had on my shoulder. I then determined him to still be really strong, even in his last year of teaching.

The two words I said the entire time was spoken then: "Thank you."

Those are the same words that I want to say today.

Thank you, Mr. Trout.

For all the lives you have impacted.
For your humor.
For your laughter.
For teaching.
For loving.
For taking the time to tell us what kind of weather it would be in the winter by looking at the persimmon seeds that were by the playground.

Thank you,

Matthew Miller

(You were one of the few people who have called me Matthew.)



Post a Comment