My apologies to Goofy Jerry

Published 6:54 am Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tiger Woods and I have something in common. (No. Not that.)

Just like El Tigre, I’m making a long overdue public apology.

Since retiring last May as a newspaper reporter, I have maintained my silence about certain acts in my life for which I take full responsibility.

Today, I am breaking my silence and apologizing for my behavior.

To Goofy Jerry, a fourth grade classmate in my hometown of Tripoli, Iowa, I apologize for the green apple attack that day after school long ago from behind the Congregational Church, which resulted in your accident.

Watching you lose control of your bike when you hit the curb and fly head-over-heels over the handlebars and land on the church lawn was a hoot.  I didn’t see much of it, because I was running away from the scene.

I did learn the full details the next day in school when you complained to our teacher Mrs. Goodenbour, and I was sent to the principal’s office with two friends.

Mrs. Goodenbour called me a “little gangster,” and I lost recess privileges for a week.

I have never thrown green apples at a moving vehicle since the fourth grade, although I have been tempted several times.

To Mrs. Lofquist, I would like to apologize for swearing in class.

As I recall, it was one of those show-and-tell exchanges that day and my contribution was to tell about a close encounter with a skunk during a visit to Uncle Walter’s farm.

I may have said, “It stunk like hell,” but it could have just as easily been “It stunk like heck” as I pleaded with the principal.

Apparently, an elementary school teacher has better hearing than a fourth grade student.

Whatever the truth, my classmates laughed like…you know what…at my remark.

The principal believed the teacher’s version, and I had my mouth washed out with soap that day and was ordered to skip recess.

To Suzanne, I want to apologize for having my friends chase you all over the playground that day.

Suzanne was the prettiest girl in the fourth grade, and I accepted a dare to kiss her during recess.  She was so pretty I thought the risk was worth it.

Unfortunately, she was saved by the bell that day.  We surrounded her at the teeter-totter, but before I could pucker-up, the bell tolled, and we had to line up to go back inside.

I didn’t want to press my luck, because Mrs. Lofquist had the schoolyard duty that afternoon and with her rabbit ears, she could have heard something slip from my lips that would have earned me another mouth-washing.