Mon. Aug. 29

My new pastor, José Canseco

Written in 2009 . . .

My youngest son, Terry, left excitedly this morning for the New Orleans Superdome. He was headed to the LSU-Ohio State football game. His cousin, Brady Glaser, is on the team and gave Terry a ticket.

The problem I have is who he went with: He left at daylight with José Canseco and I’m not sure I trust this man taking my son off.

Let me tell you about José and you’ll probably share my concern—In 1990, I served my one and only year as principal at East Beauregard High. The superintendent sent a teacher to our school who had “taught” at every school in the parish. He told me, “Get her to teach… or fire her.”

This lady, whom I will call “Mrs. Jones” was sad and pitiful. She could not, and would not, teach. She could not control even a small class of middle school students. That school year was fortunately her last year to teach in Beauregard Parish.

I spent lots of time in her classroom trying to work with her. I believe my year with “Mrs. Jones” is when I became fully bald!

About the end of the first six weeks, I visited her sixth grade enrichment class of about twelve students. When I walked in, the room was in chaos. The students were all over the room and Mrs. Jones was screaming at them. Seeing me, they quickly got in their seats and she quieted down as well.

I decided I would lead the class on this day, so I opened her gradebook and began calling roll. Amazingly, I looked down the list—there above the name of student Sarah Cooley was a familiar, but unfamiliar name:  José Canseco. Below it were other names I knew, but did not associate with our school:    Michael Jordan was on roll as well as his teammate Scottie Pippen, and followed by Jerry Rice. Becky Young, whom I had graduated with her mother, was followed by Steve Young, who just happened to be quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers.

I began taking roll with the first name, “José Canseco.” There was no answer and the students nervously began looking around.

“José Canseco?” Only silence.

“José, are you here?”

Every eye in the classroom, including Mrs. Jones, turned toward a skinny sixth grade boy. Finally, he sheepishly raised his hand, “Here.”

It was Charlie Bailey. I had attended school with both of his parents and knew his family on both sides for three generations back.

“Well, José, I’m glad you’re with us. How are the Oakland A’s managing without you in the lineup today?”

One by one, each boy answered by his ‘roll call name.’ I don’t remember much else, but Charlie Bailey says I took them all in the hall and tore their butts up. If I did, it was ‘just desserts.’

Why is this story on my mind? Well, this morning, my baby son, Terry, left for New Orleans with José Cansceo. Well, it was really Charlie Bailey. (Whom I often still call “José”.)

Charlie, a successful timber buyer with his father, is the youth director at our church. He and his wife, Meghan, are the parents of a year old son, Samuel. “José,” I mean Charlie, never made the major leagues, but he has done well. He is a fine man and I’m extremely proud of him.

I just hope José Canseco and Terry will behave themselves in the big city of New Orleans. By the way, Go Tigers!

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