Denny teaches Tom to eat crow 2014. 10. 11.¢  I kind of would like to hear it straight from the horse¢â‚¬â„¢s

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  • Denny teaches Tom to eat crow

    © 1999-2014 by Debbie Dunn


    44 MMaallee AAccttoorrss:: TToomm DDeennnnyy GGrraannddppaa GGuuaarrdd

    11 FFeemmaallee AAccttoorr:: MMrrss.. JJeennkkiinnss 22 oorr mmoorree NNaarrrraattoorrss:: GGuuyyss oorr GGiirrllss

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Thomas Dexter, better known as Tom or Tommy, walked in late to his 6 th


    English class. The teacher named Mrs. Jenkins yelled:

    MRS. JENKINS: Tom, I am fed up! This is the third time this week that you have been

    tardy. Every time you have some fishy kind of excuse. Well, this time, no

    excuses! You’re going to do 100 write-offs that need to be turned in to me

    tomorrow. Also, it must be signed by one of your parents.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Tom glared at Mrs. Jenkins and yelled back:

    TOM: That’s not fair! You just don’t like me!

    MRS. JENKINS: Sit down and close your mouth!

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Tom stomped over to his desk and flung himself into his seat. He was silently

    fuming; nevertheless, he grumbled quietly under his breath:

    TOM: You old crabapple!

    NNaarrrraattoorr : He could have said worse things, but he didn’t want to get into the kind of

    trouble that might cause the teacher to fill out a pink slip.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Then, he might be grounded by his parents for sure. Right now, there was still a

    chance they wouldn’t punish him just for being tardy a few times.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Just then, another student walked in tardy. His name was Dennis Salyer. Most

    of the kids and teachers called him Denny. The teacher, still feeling angry at

    Tom, yelled:

  • Denny teaches Tom to eat crow

    © 1999-2014 by Debbie Dunn


    MRS. JENKINS: Denny! Why were you tardy to my class?

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Denny knew better than to argue or to make up excuses. He realized that this

    would only make the problem worse. He calmly and politely said:

    DENNY: I’m real sorry, Mrs. Jenkins! I’m not going to make excuses, and I will try so

    hard never to do it again.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Pleased with Denny’s respectful attitude, Mrs. Jenkins calmly said:

    MRS. JENKINS: Thank you, Denny. I’ll hold you to that agreement.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : No talk about write-offs. No anger. Just calm respect between teacher and

    student. This really made Tom jealous. He called out:

    TOM: Hey, that’s not fair! How come I have to do write-offs, and he doesn’t?

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Mrs. Jenkins knew better than to be sucked into Tom’s power-play attempt. She

    simply ignored him and began her class.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Tom slumped down into his seat, feeling angrier than ever. Under his breath, he


    TOM: I hate her! I hate Denny! I hate everybody!

    NNaarrrraattoorr : In reality, Tom didn’t hate anybody. He was actually kind of angry at himself

    for not having the sense to handle the situation better. He felt rather envious of

    Denny’s ability to stay on the teacher’s good side. Tom thought:

    TOM: Why can’t I do that?

    NNaarrrraattoorr : A couple of weeks later, Denny and Tom decided to go fishing on a sunny

    Saturday afternoon. They were having a pretty good time; however, Tom had

    something on his mind. He said:

    TOM: Uh, Denny. Can I ask you something?

    DENNY: Sure, Tom! What is it?

    TOM: Well, remember a couple of weeks back when we were both tardy and I had to

    do write-offs and you didn’t?

    DENNY: Yeah, I remember.

    TOM: Well, uh, …, what I’d like to know is, …, well, uh, …, how did you learn to do

    that? And can you teach me to do what you did, so I won’t get in trouble so


  • Denny teaches Tom to eat crow

    © 1999-2014 by Debbie Dunn


    NNaarrrraattoorr : Denny stared for a moment and then said:

    DENNY: Are you sure you really want to hear this?

    TOM: Yeah, I’m sure!

    DENNY: Well, my Grandpa was in the Army way back. He fought in a war. He learned

    the hard way that if his Captain called him down for doing something wrong, he

    best not argue. Instead, he should just eat humble pie or eat crow.

    TOM: Say what?

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Denny laughed and said:

    DENNY: Those are idioms that my Grandpa told me about.

    TOM: Id-i-what?

    DENNY: Idioms. They’re expressions that mean something.

    TOM: Oh. Well go on with your story.

    DENNY: Well, Grandpa said:

    DENNY: Instead, Grandpa knew he better make nice. If he had to, he would even lie a bit

    and say:

  • Denny teaches Tom to eat crow

    © 1999-2014 by Debbie Dunn


    DENNY: Grandpa made darn sure that his body language, facial expressions, tone of

    voice, and word choices were absolutely polite and respectful.

    TOM: Yeah, but it’s not right to lie!

    DENNY: Tom, sometimes you have to weigh your priorities. That’s what my Grandpa

    says. Since his Captain expected perfect obedience and my Grandpa wanted to

    get a leave and maybe even eventually earn a promotion, he knew that it was

    just good common sense to use the best survival skills he knew.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Tom wanted to be sure he understood. He asked:

    TOM: So, what were those survival skills?

    DENNY: Like I said, you need to eat crow. Be nice. Make nice. Be polite. That will keep

    you in the good graces of ‘most any teacher or principal.

    TOM: So, what caused your Grandpa to teach you that?

    DENNY: Well, a couple of years back, I was real good at doing that ‘attitude thing’, as my

    mom likes to call it. I was always getting myself in trouble. One time, they

    called my parents in for a conference. The whole family came: Mom, Dad, and

    Grandpa, too.

    TOM: That sounds embarrassing!

    DENNY: I’ll say! Boy, was I humiliated! My family was real disappointed in me.

    Afterward, Grandpa took me aside and gave me a good talking to. Only he did it

    in such a way that I no longer felt embarrassed or angry. My Grandpa is a really

    good man. He and I are real close. That’s when he taught me how to stay out of

    trouble at school.

    TOM: Wait a minute! He told you about the Army. What’s that have to do with


    DENNY: Now my Grandpa can tell this a whole lot better than me. Let me try to do it as

    close as I remember to the way he told it. And then maybe someday, you can

    meet him in person, and he can tell you himself.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Feeling very curious and intrigued, Tom begged:

    TOM: How about we go talk to him now? I kind of would like to hear it straight from

    the horse’s mouth.

    DENNY: Ha! Ha! Ha! Hey, Tom! You just used an idiom.

    TOM: I did? What?

    DENNY: The expression about hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth is an idiom.

    TOM: Oh, cool! My family has been using that expression from as long back as I can

    remember. Well, what do you say? Can we go talk to your Grandpa now?

  • Denny teaches Tom to eat crow

    © 1999-2014 by Debbie Dunn


    DENNY: Sure, why not?!!

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Tom and Denny gathered up their fishing gear and headed over to Denny’s

    house. Grandpa was out on the back porch doing some whittling.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Denny explained to Grandpa what they wanted. Grandpa was delighted to

    comply. He said:

    GRANDPA: All right, young’un! I’ll tell you just like I told young Denny here. You listen

    good, and you’ll get along real good with all your teachers at school.

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Grandpa put down the stick he was whittling on, and he began to explain:

    NNaarrrraattoorr : Tom and Denny both nodded their heads. They understood perfectly what

    Grandpa had said so far. Grandpa continued:

    GRANDPA: Well, just like there are all kinds of people in the world you need to learn to deal

    with, there are all kinds of teachers you’re going to have to learn to deal with,


    NNaarrrraattoorr : Tom quickly thought about all the teachers he had experienced and all the

    classrooms he had been in since kindergarten and said:

    TOM: That’s the truth! I’ve had all kinds of teachers over the years. Some of them

    were great! But some of them were pretty mean!

  • Denny teaches Tom to eat crow

    © 1999-2014 by Debbie Dunn


    TOM: Placeholders? I don’t quite get that.

    DENNY: You know, Tom! Like for example, Mrs. Jenkins. You know she can’t stand to

    have any of her students be tardy to her class. She’s a placeholder or a

    representative of a kind of boss that you might have someday or maybe even a

    bunch of bosses as none of them like to have their employees be late, either.

    TOM: Oh, maybe I understand. So like since Mr. Campbell is really nice and