“Yea Though I Walk Through the Valley in the Shadow of Darkness … I Shall Fear No Evil …”


It’s Hump Day …

Not feeling like “jokes” nor catchy phrases today … so … “Mike …” you’ve got to wait for another day … this is serious.

So, we all know that life … and death … is pretty much unpredictable.  Many of us have witnessed untimely deaths of loved ones while others of us have witnessed miracles.  I can think back to a couple of times when I … could have died.  I won’t go into that now as there is a subject of more importance that I wish to address.  How does it feel when that happens … you unexpectedly lose a loved one?!?  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a biological family member though those “untimely departures” are often quite challenging to handle as well.  Our extended families and friends are integral parts of our lives quite often …

Most of you know that I taught social studies for 10 years at White Plains High School and also coached boys basketball as head junior varsity and assistant varsity coach.  I can only tell you that this was a tremendous experience for both me and the students I was blessed to come into contact with.  Many remain amongst my best friends and supporters today.  I was very close with many of them as I was in my early twenties when I got my first position teaching social studies at White Plains High School, not to mention the comradery that was developed between me and the basketball players I was privileged to coach!  We won some games that we weren’t supposed to win and the bonds created then were based on mutual respect and appreciation.  Would you believe that some of those students … have passed away?!?  More intense for me, some of my fellow teachers … one who taught and coached me social studies and track – RIP Ed Zemmel – have passed away, too!  We taught together and hung out while at White Plains High School.  Most recently, a long time associate and teacher though we became closer via social media since she and I left White Plains as we had many many students in common, passed away … unexpectedly … like a day ago!!  Her father, whom I didn’t know … nor that he had passed last week, had in fact passed first, and, as she prepared to have his body flown from Las Vegas to White Plains for “home going services”, she suffered from a heart attack.  I am speechless, so to speak.  Sandra Boyd worked as a special education teacher in White Plains public elementary schools, served passionately as a youth counselor at Grace Church and became a mentor for many of the youth in the City of White Plains.  Her younger brother was a student at the High School and also played lacrosse when I taught there.  Many students and friends of their family, many a lot closer to the two of them than I … some even knew her father who passed last week … mourned the loss of Ms. Boyd who had moved to Las Vegas, Nevada after retiring from teaching.  I am still in disbelief … We are around the same age … Peace be still …

At this point in my life, I am embracing my retirement and working feverishly to get airline tickets to visit … maybe even relocate … to Europe … first stop – Barcelona, Spain.  I mean, we can “go” at anytime for any reason … and oh so unexpectedly.  I encourage those of us who hold grudges against people for childhood offenses or those “conflicts” over 20 years ago to rethink your reasoning.  All of the people of our past have helped each of us become who we are today … whether the interaction was positive or if the interaction was not so pleasant.  We each grew from our experiences and owe it to those people of our past life who perhaps had us rethink our approach to life.  Hopefully, you understand where I am coming from ….

“Yeah though I walk through the valley in the shadows of darkness, I shall fear no evil … for thou art with me … thy rod, thy staff … they comfort me!”

Have a great day … and forgive those who trespass against us.


John I. Cook, Director

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