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One of the vocab words this week for my students was meticulous, which means to pay close attention to details. Many of them used it in a sentence similar to, “Mr. D is meticulous when looking at our papers, looking for every mistake.” That’s very true, and it always reinforces to me how important the little things are in getting a big job done.

Certainly, my regular readers have seen examples of what happens when that fine attention is not paid to student writing. (I had some more this week when I read movie critiques about Star Wars from my students. I guess they flew around a lot in otter space. Plus, Han Solo was friends with the Wookie Chewable. Ugh, that’d get a lot of hair in your teeth.)

There are so many things in life that have many parts that work together. I was thinking about that during my most recent shoveling excursion to find the end of my driveway. Naturally, I was trying to think of all the parts that have to work together for the weather terrorists to get the forecast wrong again. It seems either they predict doom and gloom and it misses us or, as happened last week, they predict a piddling and we get a dumping.

As I plodded my way through the piles, I was thinking about the small things that make my life easier. My neighbors Jerry and Gene share a snowblower that I’m admittedly hesitant to use, even though it’s been offered. These gentlemen will help me out sometimes by blowing out the end of my driveway after the plow has been by and have helped widen my driveway from the impending doom of the snow cliffs surrounding it. That helps tremendously, even if it’s a small gesture on their part.

Then I was thinking about sports events (I know, shocker). Mr. Stork counts on a lot of small things and a variety of people to help the events run smoothly. Sometimes the casual fan isn’t aware of all these pieces of the puzzle. My seat neighbor at varsity events all these years has been Larry Crabtree at the clock. Larry and I get along well; we’d better for all the time we spend together at games! Larry doesn’t really want to be noticed at the clock, and the 99% of the time that he is error-free, he isn’t. But forget to put a point in the right column and the shouts ensue. It’s not an easy job, but it’s an important one to keep the games running well.

Some people do multiple things to help events at all levels. Since Tim Siewert arrived as band director, he’s done so much more. I have the pleasure of working with him as a football official and a baseball umpire. At a time when Mr. Stork finds it difficult to find people willing to don the stripes and/or the blue, Tim is willing to help at all levels. He’s also stepped in to help with the clock when Larry couldn’t be there and takes care of much of the behind-the-scenes sound systems in our acoustically-challenged gym.

Speaking of little things, I think that might be part of Nate Jensen’s job description at NRHEG. Nate has been a jack-of-all-trades these past few years and probably has his hand in more things than I know about at school. He works with the sound, coaches, deals with subs, and fills in about every position in the district outside of administration.

And then there’s Matt Groskreutz, who…um, well, I’m sure he does something around here other than sit in his chair and eat sandwiches. Oh yeah, he makes sure all the buses and vans that transport your kids are in good working order. He also brings a smile to the faces of the kids on his bus and anyone he comes across when he stops by school. Plus, he enjoys polka music, so he must be good folk!

These are just a few of the people who help the world go around and don’t often get noticed or appreciated for the effort they put in to make things work smoothly for others. Thank you!

Word of the Week: This week’s word is vituperate, which means to use harsh language, as in, “I tried to keep Larry from vituperating when the visiting fans yelled at him about the incorrect score.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!

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