I just finished reading Bleachers by John Grisham. It is a story about a legendary high school football coach and his former players remembering their times with him. I won’t go into a detailed synopsis of the story here. Instead, I want to share my thoughts as I read this book.
My thoughts drifted back to high school to my favorite teacher, Norman Woodall. Mr. Woodall was my band director, and I learned more from that man than from any other teacher or college professor I had. Although I didn’t realize it in high school, Mr. Woodall was an amazing man. He was a highly talented french horn player and knew so much more about music than I could ever imagine. He was my very first band instructor, starting in 4th grade, and he taught me so much about music. I will be forever grateful for his teachings.
In addition to his knowledge and instruction, he was a very caring man. He genuinely cared for his students. Once you got to know and understand him that was easy to see. One of my most vivid memories of Mr. Woodall was at my father’s funeral (while I was still in high school). During the visitation, I was pleasantly surprised when Mr. Woodall arrived. I remember him hugging me and telling me how sorry he was and that things would be okay. I can still smell the smoke on his jacket. That moment really changed my view of Mr. Woodall.
My favorite teacher passed away several years ago while I was living in Atlanta. I was unable to attend the funeral, which is something I regret. I still feel like I owed it to Mr. Woodall to be there and say a proper good-bye after all he had done for me. I know I’ll see him again someday. I look forward to being able to thank him personally for his influence in my life.