When God Winks at You II

Call it coincidence.

Call it a sign.

However, in light of...

...I shall go with divine intervention.

Loyal readers of my teacher union website CAT Tracks are familiar with the trials and tribulations of James Gibson.

It all began on August 17, 2005...the 55th birthday of one Julie A. Newell.

James had been "done wrong" the previous year when Cairo School District Number One promised to put him on the teachers' salary schedule while employing him as a full-time substitute teacher in our Crisis Classroom...and didn't.

When James informed school administrators that he would not return the following year under those conditions and would, instead, accept a teaching position elsewhere, the Superintendent agreed to have the Board of Education hire him as a full-time regular teacher. The day after the Board of Education meeting, James was presented with a written employment offer as "Crisis Classroom Teacher". James signed the document and hoped to live happily ever after.

A little over a month later, the Cairo School District changed superintendents.

On that fateful August 17th, during a visit to the District's Central Office, James caught wind that something was rotten in Cairo...that despite signing a contract as a TEACHER, he was going to be classified as a TEACHER AIDE and paid the same as the previous year...as a substitute teacher. (James had actually turned the other cheek the previous year, because they had promised to put him on the teacher salary schedule during the second half of the 2003-2004 School Year.)

James decided that enough was enough. He didn't say anything to anybody. James simply left the Superintendent's Office and made for the exit of the Central Office building, thinking that he would simply restart his job search...and leave the Cairo School District far behind.

James never made it out the door...

...at least not until he had a session with the "Birthday Girl".

After Julie spent HER two years in exile, she was allowed to come back to work at the Central Office...but wasn't given anything to do. Julie was NOT one to sit idly by. Being the social person she was, Julie appointed herself morale officer...daily serving various goodies to anyone and everyone who wandered through the building.

As James made for the front door, Julie just happened along and must have sensed his distress. Julie stopped James and invited him into her office...for some birthday goodies. As they talked, James must have mentioned his dissatisfaction...or else Julie really was psychic! (I know Julie could read my mind like an open book, but then that's not unusual for husbands and wives. Other people? Not so much...)


Julie assumed her assertive persona and told James in no uncertain terms..."You will not quit. You tell Ronnie what is going on...he will stand up for you."

August 17, 2005...the battle began, and continued...through today, April 12, 2010.

Almost 4 years and 8 months.

The 2005-2006 School Year of Hell...constant harassment, multiple threats of termination, an out-of-control superintendent's flying spittle in his face, and termination. Unemployment. District Officials calling another school district and telling them not to hire James Gibson even though they had given him an honorable dismissal...citing financial problems. Refusal to even hire James as a substitute teacher. James being vindicated in a 2007 arbitration case and getting "back pay" for the 2005-2006 School Year. Finally getting his "day in court" at the end of October, 2009. And today...having an Administrative Law Judge rule in James' favor against Cairo School District Number One...ON ALL COUNTS!

How sweet it is!


I know, I know...what's this got to do with coincidences, signs, and God winks?

Your "bad"...with an assist from me.

Since my postings have been few and far between since I finished "The Book", you probably forgot about my "digressions"! You should remember, I never, ever come straight to the point.

As for the "God Wink"...

My weeds (and the neighborhood weeds) are growing fast and furiously. Having worked in the backyard over the weekend, I decided to spend Monday in the front.

I did enjoy a leisurely, retired morning...having a late breakfast and treating myself to a pay-per-view movie. Incidentally, I do NOT recommend 2012. I'm sure the special effects lost a lot of their "bang" migrating to the small screen, but the ending was cheesy beyond belief.

Uh, am I digressing again?


After spending an hour or so pulling weeds, I decided that it was time to mulch them up and cut what few strands of grass might be struggling to survive. That's when my mind turned to music...that some tunes might provide distraction from the drudgery. So, I hunted down my "work-in-the-yard" MP3 player...which I have not seen nor used since last summer. Popped in the earbuds and did my imitation of lawnmower man.

Now, I can't say what the actual timing was, whether the songs began playing at exactly the same time that folks started calling...but, it was close.

James Gibson called to tell me the good news...that he had won his case. The attorney for the Illinois Education Association called to tell me the good news...and e-mailed me a copy of the judge's ruling. Finally, the CAT President was calling because the IEA UniServ Director had called her with the good news.


I'm outside - away from the house phone, with no cell phone - listening to my tunes...tunes that I had forgotten were on my "El Cheapo" MP3 player (that only holds like maybe 8 albums.)

While James Gibson et al are trying desperately to reach me - to let me know that the battle Julie began on her birthday in 2005 had come to a joyous end - I'm outside listening to the "sound track" of another, less joyous end...Julie's funeral service.

Call it coincidence.

Call it a sign.

However, in light of my previous experiences, you'll just have to forgive me for thinking that maybe, just maybe, God allowed "Wink" to send her Ronnie a message...that, as of today, Julie is finally, truly, and deservedly resting in peace.

When God Winks at You II

Director's Cut...Includes Alternative Ending

Okay, forget the hype...

However, my original post did have a different ending. It's just that after letting the thoughts and words flow, a re-reading made me nervous that my ever-watchful friends would become alarmed...once again fearful for my mental and physical well being. Since I enjoy my hermit's existence, I felt compelled to "tone it down"...shift the focus of the "restful person".

The original ending went something like this...

Call it coincidence.

Call it a sign.

However, in light of my previous experiences, you'll just have to forgive me for thinking that maybe, just maybe, God gave "Wink" permission to send me a message. That Ronnie can finally..."Rest in Peace".