One of my most memorable experiences at Avondale Elementary was going to the Principals office.  I went two times.  Once was for calling my second grade teacher a 'dirty bird'.  Her name was Ms. Hollinsworth, and one day one of us called her, Ms. "Hollowhead", and another called her a "dirty bird".  Buzzy Crowe and I were the callers.  My resentment over the years stems from the fact that I think I was falsely accused for having called her one name, when I actually called her the other.  I believe I called her Ms. "Hollowhead", and I was falsely accused of calling her a 'dirty bird', which was Buzzy's description of her.  But the 'dirty bird' call was what Ms. Hollingsworth heard, and I was charged with the crime that resulted in a sentence to the Principals office.  Going to the Principals office was a fearful thing all through grade school, but especially in the second grade.  I can't for sure remember the Principal's name, but they all had names that sounded like the infliction of pain, Mr. Steelrod, Mr. Paddlehole, Mr. Stompum, names like that.  This Principal was Mr. Murphy's predecessor. I think his name was Mr. Brandon, or maybe Brandem, something like that.  Well, my heart sank when this little old lady pointed at me and said for me, Dances with Dogs, to come with her.  I remember we had to pass through the lunchroom to get to the Principals office and he was there eating lunch with one of his deputy wardens of some kind.  Ms Hollingsworth stopped and told him about my crime and that she was taking me to his office for punishment.   He looked big, unmerciful, and much like a German officer in the war movies of the time.  She walked me to his office which was next to the front door of the school and sat me on the bench seat to wait by his office door.  Then she left me and returned to her class where Buzzy sat scott-free, saved by grace, not by words!  I sat and I sat, the hours passed by.  This waiting was probably the first phase of Mr. Brandon's torture plan.  The hallways were deserted and completely quiet as all the students were in the classrooms with their doors shut.  The rooms were soundproof to keep students from hearing the cries of pain from Mr. Brandon's office.  It was very, very quiet.  I heard no sounds except from outside the front door. Beside me, the tall double doors to the front of the school were wide open and all of nature beckoned to me.  The birds, the dogs, the squirrels, were all specifically calling me, their friend.  The streets, the yards, the houses, the woods, were all within a few steps of my holding cell.   The spirit overwhelmed me and lifted me from the bench, and I ran.  It was the running spirit, the same spirit that would carry us so many times in our youthful years , rescuing us from many dangers.  I leaped through those huge prison doors and was away in a flash.  No one could have caught me, I was free and flying down to the circle, past Kensington, and around to wonderful Lakeshore Drive , pathway to the lake.  I hit the downhill, the wind was with me, and I barely felt my feet hitting the sidewalk sections, which I was taking two at a stride.  Nothing to do now but take a right at Kingstone and on to my house.  I pounded on my front door where my mother would be the only one at home.  She opened the door and I knew she could save me so I poured out every plea for mercy I could imagine.  Then I heard the inevitable response, which I could never accept.  She said I must return alone to the torture chamber and take my punishment.  Maybe I could run back to Memphis where I went to the first grade without incident.  They would take me back, I'm sure.  But I was sure I was never going back up that hill alone.  There was no chance I was going to face Mr. Brandon alone.  My mother had never looked into his dark evil eyes and seen the cold killer that was veiled by the face he presented to parents.  I must have been convincing because my mother got her pocketbook and walked with me back to the facility.  Mr. Brandon was now there in his office and I knew he was greatly disappointed when he saw my mother, but he hid it behind a crooked smile and he said all the things a mother would want to hear.  That day I was saved by words not by grace.  I learned several important principles that day.  One was to never take any punishment when there is a possible way out, especially when moved by the running spirit.  I learned that my mother would always save me from even the most desperate situations.  But I knew when Mr. Brandon glared at me, I had foiled his plan, robbed him of the infliction of pain, which was his pleasure .  I knew from then on he would be after me and that I must be very careful.  But, of course, there were many others, probably among our A-mailers,  who provided him with many opportunities to exploit his hidden passion for pain.  His attention was probably diverted to the others when he saw that I had the running spirit and that my mother loved me enough to come before his presence in my defense.   The other time I had to go to the Principal in elementary school was ... well, that's another story, but it involves Patricia Blisset, bless her heart, and Lash Larue.... remember him?.... Going to woods tonight for sure, stars galore on the dark of the moon... running spirit still comes on me out there... but I don't take two sidewalk sections at a time anymore! 

Sincerely Yalls ... DwD.love2run