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The Throne of Weird: A Tribute to Mr. Kelsch

Mr. Kelsch, my coffee chugging, slightly balding, diagnosed hyperactive, fourth grade teacher with a gravelly loudspeaker of a voice, strode into the classroom. (rapidly, of course) He hit play on the tape deck, then leapt onto the counter in front of the wide expanse of windows. His silhouette faced the bright light of the late afternoon and we, the students, held our breath in anticipation of what could not possibly be predicted. We had learned early that school year the wild one in front of us lived beyond the laws of predictability. “Awimaweh, awimaweh, awimaweh, awimaweh,” chanted the tape deck. We watched with wide eyes and rapt attention as his knee began to bend and bounce. His tushy

Wake the Dragon

To scale the tower, one had to ascend unvarnished slabs of wood, dulled by wicked winters and sturdy shoes. (Practical footwear is an unspoken mandate in Montana.) The texture of the wood so memorably close, far nearer than the faces of my adult comrades. Even more prominent, to my four year old eyes, than the weathered lumber was the space between each step. Between each stair nothing existed, just absence, just air and I felt certain that moving my fearful feet skyward would lead my small, young body to be suctioned through this emptiness. The black hole of uncertainty would surely claim me. Instead, I cried out, begging to be carried and refusing to take a single step. My mother’s breathi


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