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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 38

The Soap Opera Dallas

Rhonda and I sat across from Mrs. Graves, principal at this new junior high school. She was past the bloom of youth but had such a calm and capable bearing to make us completely comfortable. There was an easy commanding way in her personality and it was obvious her days must have been filled with helping people. Rhonda’s wheelchair didn’t seem to bother her in the least. We discussed one and another topic regarding Rhonda’s ability to function in a school like hers.

I fully expected to have to go home and come back, but not so. Mrs. Graves called an aide into the room and we visited for a while about Rhonda’s special needs. She was willing to do what was necessary to get started. Finally Mrs. Graves called one of the students into her office.

The girl, who was Rhonda’s age, looked to be healthy in every way. She was quite shabby in her appearance though. There were no shoes upon her feet, the t-shirt she was wearing had "Annie Green Springs Wine," lettered across it. The girl-child had a pleasant personality even though she was a bit quiet and reserved. The quick smile she gave to Rhonda seemed to light up her face.

"Marcy will be taking Rhonda to her classes and can stay with her to see she has any help needed." Mrs. Graves was matter of fact, as if she had already done this many times and I knew that couldn’t have been so. My thinking was a little guarded on the appearance of the girl appointed to be Rhonda’s caretaker but the lady in charge was so competent there was no room for discussion on the matter.

"We have on duty a nurse too, and she will be helping Rhonda."

The principal reassured me and must have sensed my uncertainty.

"When would you like for me to bring Rhonda to school." I asked.

"Well, if you don’t mind, we would like for her to start immediately." Mrs. Graves was ready to accept the challenge. "In a few days, if you wish, it would be good to make a visit to meet her teachers and go from class to class with her just so you can get an idea of what her schedule will be. A nurse is on duty too, and she will be helping Rhonda."

With these assurances I was satisfied all was well as far as my daughter’s care was concerned.

I did just that but, right away, could see there was no need for me to be there. Annie Green Springs had everything under control and the two girls quickly became fast friends.

Later on the labeled shirt was gone and it was replaced with a cute, fashionable blouse. She wasn’t wearing shoes yet but she did have a pair of flip-flop thongs on her feet. Instead of her loose oily looking hair hanging about her face it was now shining clean and caught up into a pony tail held there by a faddish tie. Something about her taking care of Rhonda had changed her personality from one of a retiring, shy person to an outgoing, smiling, friendly teen-age girl.

Today the two girls went giggling down the hall as I slipped out the door. Rhonda was in her chair and the girl was bending over to whisper into her ear something only the two of them could share.

Driving back and forth morning and evening to deliver and pick the two up was something I enjoyed. I drove over a road beside the legendary house where the evening sitcom, Dallas, was filmed. I saw the property when it had falling down fences and was unpainted to the time it was back to the shining place it must have once been. Natalie Duncan and her husband, who was a contractor, were working on it. She had a son. He went to school with Mark and I became acquainted with her during the times we waited for our sons and visited.

The curving road I traveled morning and evening to deliver and pick up the kids wound through the new mansions where Arabian stallions stood on the lawns obediently dressed in their coats.

I enjoyed watching a hired hand paint the miles of white fences only with a brush but, finally to be seen with a spray gun to whip out the job with ease.

The Donahoes, my landlords, were growers and in production as a large farm. I believe, the show Dallas, the story, was really about them. Certainly, the names of the actors and the real family agreed. There was Bud, Bill, the Mother, Mrs. Donahoe herself, who favored Bell in the show. Patsy, Bud’s wife, was as perky as J.R.’s wife in the movie. I became acquainted with them and enjoyed their hospitality much like family.

It was a wonderful world full of new experiences and all because we were doing our best to find schooling for our children.

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