Chickens in the Road Goes to School


Yesterday, I went to the little school in town to talk about being a writer. I was invited by the school counselor as part of a series of career talks, primarily for the middle schoolers. The little school goes all the way through elementary up to eighth grade. There are about 30-40 students per grade. (I think the school is really cute.)

It was actually the brain child of this girl to volunteer my name to the school counselor.

Not that you’d know she wanted me there when I arrived in her 7th grade classroom.

I talked about what it was like to be a writer, and how a writer comes up with stories–the basic breakdown of a plot. I like to use simple children’s stories when I speak at schools, such as Snow White or The Three Little Pigs, to break down story elements because they’re universal tales and they work, easily, with all ages, from kindergartners to high school seniors. There’s just enough story to break down all the parts but not so much as to distract from the point.

I showed them copies of some of my recent books and then I passed around a few foreign copies.

Kids love to look at foreign copies, especially the odder ones such as a Hebrew translation showing the cover on what we think of as the back of the book. (Hebrew is read back to front instead of front to back.) I like to let kids look at foreign copies because they can’t read them.

I also talked about other types of writing, such as writing for newspapers and magazines, or writing for the internet. I spoke to four groups–three middle school classes and one fourth grade class. The fourth grade teacher had been Princess’s teacher when she was in fourth grade so she came with me to visit that class. The teacher let her use her laptop to bring my blog up on the wall screen.

Princess loved getting to sit at the teacher’s desk and use her computer. Good thing she’s not in fourth grade anymore or that teacher would never get her out of her chair again. She’s lucky Princess didn’t start grading her papers.

While the kids looked at the pictures on the screen and Princess scrolled down, I read several recent barnyard posts, such as yesterday’s Foiled Again and Conversation with Clover. The fourth graders absolutely howled over Bedtime Story.

And, I think, Princess was maybe even a tiny bit proud I was her mother for once, and I was glad I went because, well, how fun was that?

Not that I’m completely off the embarrassing list.

On the way home with 15 from football practice, he told me one of the other students in his English class had found out I was a writer and now everyone knew. (Not a positive development in his perspective.)

I said, “Oh, did I tell you about being in the Black Walnut Festival parade?”

15 said, “WHAT?”

I said, “I guess I forgot to tell you. I’m one of the honorary grand marshals. I’ll be riding in a float at the head of the parade.”

15 absorbed that for a moment, then said, in the tone I imagine he would use if he’d just been informed by a doctor that they were sorry but they would have to amputate both of his arms, “OH MY GOD.”

I said, “I KNOW.”


  1. Kalin says:

    Haaa! Can you make a shirt for the parade with the kids’ faces emblazoned upon it just to make sure nobody misses the connection?

  2. Katharina says:

    Suzanne, you are truly hilarious. I’m sure that 15 will someday (when he is known as 45) will often reminisce on his wonderful mother and how she rode on a float and waved at the people and didn’t forget to wear pants that day.

    I’m sure Princess IS proud of her mama who taught at her school one day.

  3. Kelleh says:


    The “OH MY GOD.” …”I KNOW.” has me giggling up a storm over here.

  4. TeresaH says:

    LOL KIds are funny. I think you should see if all of you can ride in the float! LOL I can imagine how that would have went over when my son was 15! :talktothehand:

  5. Julie i says:

    Have your kids read one of your books yet?? Wait until 15’s buddies start reading some hot romantic scene aloud to everybody!

  6. wkf says:

    About the only thing worse you could do to 15 is make him ride it with you!!


  7. Michelle Willingham says:

    When I taught middle school, the kids would be SO EXCITED because their mom/dad was coming to chaperone. They were like little pieces of popping corn, just DYING for mom or dad to get there. They would brag about it to their friends.

    Then as soon as mom/dad arrived, they would pretend like their parent didn’t exist. So funny! I always tried to tell the parents quietly that yes, their child really did want them there. :hug:

  8. Sarita says:

    What a wonderful day you all had! I love it that you take the foreign books…too funny.

    And maybe you’ve encouraged a budding writer or two to follow their dreams. Doesn’t get much better than that!

  9. Wammy says:

    When is the parade…we should all sow up.

  10. m says:

    love the “I Know …” :rotfl:

    Will you be taking a goat or a giant puppy to keep you company as “assistant” to the Honorary Grand Marshall?

    i needed a chuckle, thanks

  11. jane says:

    I remember taking my son who is now 24 to grade school and being able to go eat lunch with him but once they hit 6th grade FORGET IT!!!!!! They dont want you there, around them, no hugging or anything – heck drop them off 10 blocks away and let them walk is fine with them!!!! they grow up fast for sure.

    loved the story – what a great opportunity for you and the kids. loved the pictures. cant wait for your story of the parade and your riding in the car. be sure to hold on though. Once when I was in the parade we sat up on the back of the convertible and – oh my hold on or you will be flying backwards – i was in a dress – nuff said!!!

  12. hayseed says:

    Isn’t it fun making one’s children squirm (I KNOW)!

  13. Tresha says:

    I am sooooo about being on the embarrassing list!!! Its a great treat God gives us parents of teens!!! I will yell out the window…”Goodby baby!!! mamma loves you!!!” or “Make an A for mamma and play nice with others!!!” the best is the honk and waving…and see…I drive a Diesel F250….so it is already loud and obnoxious amongst the cars…hahhahaaa….

    I truly did not know my daughter could walk that fast and don’t you love it when they tell you what you are and are not going to do? for example

    Hey, I am volunteering at the school!! …..”OH NO YOU’RE NOT!!! I think it is because I am really super cool and she is worried I will upscale her….yep…I am sure that is it… hahahaa

    Tresh in Ok

  14. Blaze says:

    See you could totally have messed with him.
    Told him you had to wear a crown made out of black walnuts too. And that your name would be on the float in giant flashing letters.

  15. Becky says:

    I’m sure it didn’t help anything that you were snapping pictures the whole time you were there.
    Don’t ya just love teens and preteens!
    One time my daughter accused me of stealing her friends.
    So funny!
    I think the kids should ride in the float and each one hold a chicken. (Chickens IN the Road)

  16. Dru says:

    Don’t you just love teens

  17. Fannie M Wiggins says:

    So glad you had fun at school. I am sure the children did too. Why do some kids act like the are embarrased by us? 😕 My daughter was like that a little but not my son. When he was in high school band, when Hubby and I got to game, he came straight to us and hugged and kissed us. Always yelling “Love yoy Momma” and didn’t care who heard. Of course, everyone heard, but in our small town, that was normal. Hope you enjoy being in the parade. Sounds like a ton of fun. Now don’t forget to :wave: to everyone and yell to the kids as you pass them. Have a great day and :hug: to all.

  18. Robin G. says:

    School and home are matter and anti-matter. If the two meet, the universe ends.

  19. Suzette says:

    My daughter is nearly 27, and I still embarrass her. The thing is…now I kinda do it on purpose. I love to play the “eccentric” and watch her squirm. But, by and large, she did get over the worst of it. I can at least be seen in public with her now. 15 is probably going to brag to his friends…disguised as a complaint, of course. This will be fun to watch! :mrgreen:

  20. margie says:

    from the pain in the first picture, i was sure you had forgotten the pants! my kids always “nominated” me for all the grade mother chores, plus the scouting things, and serving hot lunches, all the way from kindergarten through the 12th grade. they (and all their friends) saw me all the time. now these kids call me about their 1st jobs and ask me to look at their 1st houses with them. always with the stipulation that i don’t forget the pants.

  21. Kacey says:

    Well, I always say it’s our duty as moms to embarrass our children whenever possible. Looks like you’re doing a great job!

  22. Abiga/karen says:

    I embarrassed my younger daughter when I substitue taught her class in third grade. She was sure she would not have to do any work with me there that day but I treated her like every student. She still exagerates the story to this day saying I singled her out all day. We tend to enlarge stories in our family down through the years just to raz each other in love. Blessings. :love:

  23. Letha says:

    I think that is great……Just tell them it builds character!

  24. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    You definitely need a tiara for that parade. Think “Sweet Potato Queen” here. Seriously. Have you been practicing your queenly wave.

    I’m very jealous of those students. I think you should give your talk here also. There are alot of us who don’t really understand these things about writing. It would be a hit I promise you.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  25. Donna says:

    That is just hilarious!! The funniest story! Princess CRACKS ME UP! She is sooo precious – you can tell she is THRILLED BEYOND BELIEF, but shy/embarrassed. She is ALWAYS so proud of you – volunteering you…what an adorable daughter – precious personality. The talk sounded interesting. I would have enjoyed sitting in. LOL :mrgreen:
    My late mother said when she was homeroom mom for my sister’s class (my sister is five years older than me), that she acted like she didn’t even KNOW my mother. My mother was hurt, I think.
    When she came to my class, I was just the opposite, I waved and waved and looked to the back, where she had cupcakes…and she smiled and motioned for me to turn back around and pay attention. I was SOOO PROUD of my beautiful mom! LOL
    Kids, they are sooo funny – I just love them!!!! :mrgreen:

  26. Claudia W. says:

    You’ve done your job well! I always feel accomplished when I have utterly embarassed my girls! I love it! It builds character. :shimmy:

  27. Amy says:

    IIRC, Embarrassing Your Kids is objective #3 in the How to Parent Successfully Handbook.

    But I bet, on the inside, they’re both really proud of you.

  28. Granny Sue says:

    Too funny about your son. Mine had the same problem telling people I was a storyteller. But my grandchildren love it! I guess it’s okay for a granny to be a storyteller, but not a mom.

    Don’t you love going to the schools? They make me feel like a celebrity, even ask for my autograph. How cool is that. It sounds like you did a great presentation too. The teachers loved it, I’m sure. Writing is a major issue in the schools these days and a key component in the WV curriculum guidelines.

  29. Laura says:

    I loved that you saved that announcement for just the right moment. The timing was great! :heart:

  30. Sarah S. says:

    Oh the things we do to embarrass our childeren without meaning to! 😆

  31. jmorford says:

    I wonder if there was ever a middle school child who was proud of his/her parent. Yours should really be proud of you – I think you are the best ever role model. You had your dream and you accomplished it. It doesn’t get much better than that.

  32. Maureen says:

    I love upsetting the teenagers because they are usually upsetting me so getting to turn the tables sometimes is fun.

  33. Kim W says:

    Hahahahaha!!! “I KNOW.” PERFECT answer! Hahahahaha!!!

    :fryingpan: :rotfl:

    Blessings from Ohio…

  34. Shari C says:

    Aren’t kids all the same once they become teens and think they have all the answers to everything.

  35. tabbimama says:

    I LOVED Bedtime Story too!!! I read it to my husband and my 6 yr. old daughter and we laughed and laughed. I agree that you should do your talk on here also.

    Oh and BTW I figured out West Virginia is only about 10 hours from Missouri so if you have another party/cheesemaking day I can come.


  36. catslady says:

    I have two daughters and voluteered at school and scouts etc. Both were glad I think down deep, but one did the acting embarrassed (she liked to fit in) and my other one was quite the opposite lol.

  37. Estella says:

    I KNOW! What a perfect answer for 15.

  38. Susan says:

    Princess looks much happier in the photos of her helping. I somehow think that it will take a whole lot more for 15 to get over you being a honorary grand marshal! :rotfl:

  39. Christine says:

    :rotfl: I’ve got a few teens, too. I love to get ’em going. I can just hear your son’s response.

  40. Deserthen says:

    I use to love going to my sons classroom and he liked the fact that I was there, even if he did pretend to be embarassed. You know, there are kids out there that wish their parents would show interest in them by coming to their school for something….even if they do pretend to be embarassed. Those kids go home thinking how cool you are and how cool it would be to have a parent like you………be proud and be the cool mom!! Have fun in that Parade………. :wave: make sure 15 has a front row seat so you can wave………… :wave:

  41. Sandra R says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  42. Tammy says:

    See ya at the festival! As a mother of two teenagers, I get where you are coming from!

Add Your Thoughts