There are several things that can signal a switch of consciousness in a young child’s life. These events can include divorce, physical and/or verbal bullying and — in the case of Denzin Elementary’s own Ronnie Blusher — being asked by a parent to pack your own lunch.
The second grader knew that the day would come, but not now and not today. I mean, his mom picked a Wednesday in April to throw this at him? The window for changing school year habits closes after Christmas break.
Being resilient, Ronnie got to it so as not to miss his 7:15 a.m. school bus. There were the usuals — a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Check. Carrots? He won’t eat them, but he’ll pack them for appearances and throw them away later. A couple Oreos? Hell, it’s lunchtime; live a little. He packed four.
The grave error occurred when the one and only Blusher child prepared for milk break — as pointed out by those around me as I write this in The Daily Cardinal office, it’s also known as snack time. Most days, he would get a granola bar, peanut butter crackers or fruit snacks. Well, it was a fruit snack kind of day. But when he looked in the pantry, they were nowhere to be found.
Until, that is, Ronnie looked on top of the cabinet. There, he saw a glass jar full of fruit snacks or, as his mom called them, “special nighttime wind-down gummies for adults.”
“Well hell, I’m making my own lunch. I’d say that’s pretty adult,” thought Ronnie as he put a few in a baggy. He would’ve taken more, but he didn’t want his mom to notice, and thank god for that.
For most of the morning, Ronnie was his usual self — disrupting class, having trouble listening and just generally acting in a way that would be brought up at the next parent-teacher conference. That is until 10:30 a.m. rolled around: fruit snack time.
Soon after, the Wisconsin elementary schooler went from being a category five tornado to the air inside of an empty milk jug.
The young student was now sitting quietly in his chair. He was also slouching and definitely not paying attention, but as far as his teacher was concerned, Ronnie didn’t need to learn a thing as long as he was quiet. In fact, the only time he received any kind of disciplinary nudge was when he got the munchies and tried to eat lunch early at his desk during math class.
Recess was a confusing time. He sat in a sandbox and just watched the merry-go-round go … around. And around. And around. A sight that was once so familiar now seemed so new.
By the time Ronnie got on the bus, he was more than ready for a long nap. Twenty drowsy minutes later, the member of America’s youth stepped onto his driveway, unlocked the front door and fell asleep on his bedroom floor surrounded by cheese stick wrappers. Happy April 20, Ronnie.