Saying of day outlives moment in spotlight

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

Soon the Marshall Junior High School and the other junior highs will be different. Ninth-graders from all over town will move to another location. No matter how much it changes, my memories of Marshall will still be vivid in my mind.

Back then Johnnie’s store was right on the premises, the funeral home was located across the street and Safeway stood at the end of Mitchell.

Ask anyone my age who went to Marshall in the seventh, eighth or ninth grade, and they will tell you about “the thought for the day.” Principal Bill McDaniel’s policy was to give announcements every day over the intercom to the entire student body.

When the last bell rang and students were seated in the classrooms for first period, we would hear a “click” from the intercom. Then Mr. McDaniel would say “Good Morning” and read announcements regarding athletics events, the cafeteria menu, holiday dismissal times, meeting times for clubs or anything that the student body needed to know. At the end, Mr. McDaniel would always include the thought for the day.

I was in anticipation my entire junior high career that some day I would be chosen to read the thought for the day and my time finally came one day in April of my eighth-grade year. I was summoned to the office and asked to do the thought for the day for the next morning’s announcements.

Without hesitation I said, “Yes!” I even planned what I would wear. No one would actually see me, but I believed that the reader of the thought for the day should be dressed in Sunday best.

Early the next morning, I reported to Mr. McDaniel’s office. He asked for the person who was to read the thought for the day. I told him it was me and walked into his office. Then he closed the door to keep out all the hall noise.

For me, it was a defining moment. For just a few short minutes, he had the ear of the entire student body and I would part of it.

Mr. McDaniel read the announcements and finally said, “Now our thought for the day will be given by Judy Scott.” With racing heart and shaking hands, I started to read in the most professional and educational voice I had.

I am sure no one to this day remembers what the thought for the day was but I still do. It said: “Those who lie down with dogs will rise up with fleas.” Ben Franklin? I can’t remember but I had given the entire student body words of wisdom to think about that day.

As an awkward adolescent, I had no idea that old adage was really something profound. The saying just meant that all of us are truly influenced by those with whom we keep company. Now that I am older, I realize it is a mighty truth in itself.

The man Lot in the Old Testament is a good example. He looked toward Sodom as his home, and set up housekeeping toward the wicked city of Sodom. Later on, he moved his household family into Sodom and he became just like Sodom. Once Lot started associating with the people and the evil of Sodom, he was on his way to trouble and soon lost everything.

The dogs and fleas saying was not intended to be spiritual. But it makes a point. Our calling is to be in the midst of the world without being of the world.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at:
cbrandon@plateautel.net