Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pete Hale sends birthday greetings to Mr. Scott!

Mr. Jim Scott
Cowboy, Artist, Musician, Mathematician

My old Ozark friend Pete Hale also sent Mr. Scott birthday greetings for his 80th year and gave permission to post the missive here:
Hi Jim, and congratulations on your big birthday -- that cake must be HUGE! Jeff was kind enough to alert me to your upcoming celebration from afar, and I can only wish that I was able to attend personally (and perhaps bring along an appropriate fire extinguisher). But if nothing else, this Devil's tool, the Internet, will have to suffice (and boy, I tell you, it really is devilish, as I just somehow lost the veritable Great American Email that I'd just finished on my infernal iPad, and thus my now thrashing away somewhat less-heartedly on an actual, comparatively trustworthy Personal Computer, instead . . . sigh -- it was really great, you'll just have to trust me. I feel like Fermat and his stinkin' theorem, minus the margin or the theorem. Some of what follows attempts to regurgitate it, at any rate . . .).

Well, where to start. (That, by the way, is the same as I started this paragraph out in my GAE . . . anyhow.) You're my favorite teacher I've ever had, period, if you don't count Mrs. Fowler in 4th grade, which I don't since that was really sort of a crush. But in some sense, my relationship with you was also something of a crush (after multiple years of my older sister Nancy telling me, "He's the greatest! You won't believe it!" and of course she was right), albeit a more intellectually driven one. From the moment you met us all, you treated us like actual adults (most unusual . . .), and your penchant for talking so wondrously about so many and varied things, up to and including what you were actually "teaching," was something completely new under the sun for all of us. You changed our galoot Arkie kid lives, plain and simple.

Your sudden demonstration of one-armed pull-ups with your fingertips on the edge of the door frame in the school "Ping Pong Room" remains one of the most astounding things I've ever witnessed in my life. It was like when Bob Dylan came into the studio about 3-4 albums into his career and sat down and started playing the piano expertly -- nobody knew he could even play the thing! Extra points were awarded for the dropped-jaw reactions from the various tough-guy dudes in attendance at the time, too. Most excellent. Thanks for that.

Your physics final exam that you administered unto us remains the best and most memorable final exam I ever expect to participate in, when you loaded us all into the back of your old pickup (". . . is he going to, uh, take us out into the woods and kill us, perhaps??") and had us build sailboats and try to tack them against the wind on that little pond nearby, in order to instill at least a little bit of actual physical understanding of vectors. I've related this tale to many a physicist over the years at this point, and it invariably results in a rather awed and hushed response, generally along the lines of, ". . . none of my physics teachers ever did anything like that . . ." Yeah, well. You weren't at Salem HS in 1976, either, evidently.

I reckon that you, Bucky Fuller, and Jack Nicklaus have created whatever in the heck I am at this point, for better or worse. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide who was the most important! I don't know what I would have ended up doing with my life if I hadn't had the good fortune to have encountered you at the exact right moment back then, but I have to assume it wouldn't have turned out nearly as fun and interesting as it has been so far. So thanks for that, too, and I hope you have a truly great day and stay firmly in the saddle for plenty more just like it! Pete
Nice letter . . . outdoes mine by a long shot . . .

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At 5:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did not know Mr. Scott as well as you or Pete, but I do know he was well liked and respected by his students. As a fellow SHS alum, I send along a sincere Happy Birthday to Mr. Scott as well.

Pete mentioned his sister, Nancy, told him that Mr. Scott was a fantastic teacher. Nancy graduated several years before us and I thought Mr. Scott started teaching at SHS in 73' or 74'?


At 6:01 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Mr. Scott taught music at Salem in the mid-1960s and may have taught some art back then, too (don't know about math). Nancy Hale might have had him as a teacher at that time.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember being a 4th grade kid in Miss [Mrs.] Chadwick's cafeteria when a really nasty hailstorm struck. I seem to recall Mr. Scott "rescuing" a second-grade teacher.

That would've been about ...


At 12:17 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I remember the hailstorm! About 1966?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information, I did not remember Mr. Scott from that far back. The hailstorm I remember was one when we were in the 5th or 6th grade and having to run in from the ball field below the gym. I seem to recall Kelly Zeigler got hit in the head and had to be practically carried into the building. Is JK older or younger than us?


At 8:58 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, I'm now no longer sure of the date, but that storm was before the sixth grade because my teacher was a woman.

JK has never revealed his age on this blog, not that I recall . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JK Jay ... is "ageless"

Your oldest Sister and your youngest Mom should've by this time, made that obvious.

Jeff's youngest Mom most recently having "enjoyed" some several minutes of conversation outside the Post Office even knew as much.

"Everybody" you should recall Jay, insists, "JK is very strange."

(But Jay, if you have the druthers about the particulars, I set aside 15 minutes each Sunday - beginning noon Zulu ending at 15 minutes past Zulu I've set aside to give a rip-roaring whatever ... on Gypsy I try to speak/type nice ... so to your question:

"Is JK older or younger than us?"

Neither. JK inhabits the in-between. In all things generally speaking.

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too funny! Thanks for the non-information JK! May you continue on your Zen quest and hopefully the authorities never find what is growing behind the barn... :-)


At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're Jay confusing me properly for Edgar Derby. I indeed was called around the Square "Derb" until some other guy, English I think, embarked onto Ellis Island changed his name from Paul Lazzaro to John Derbyshire who, since he got a radio show with attention enamored me with first changing my name back to Edgar which name I was afraid the proprietors of Dairy Hollow would confuse as Poe or saw a Poe had already and previously checked in purporting to write (or at least study to) porn stuff which, being plussed where confused was concerned I thought to become more appropriately JK.

Now Jay, start a two sentence intro which first sentence constricts to fourteen syllables then telling (the reader) not just who but when and which lits up and explains, had to be practically carried as well Jay Jeff's because my teacher was a woman.

I'm a little confused.


At 5:29 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK is making perfect sense . . . as always . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings, Jeff, Jay, Anonymous (man, I feel like I'm in the middle of international intrigue here); Jay, your comment about Nancy not being able to give me that early feedback on Mr. Scott is a good one, I was thinking the same thing myself when I wrote it. But, I swear she did sing his praises to me back then. I'll have to simply ask her. It may be that she got to know him some other way or something. I can't hardly think of who else might have done that (Nessi maybe??). But I do remember getting some super-positive advance feedback from some older-than-me female...anyhow, really glad he had a fine celebration. --Pete

At 4:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shush Pete, We do not want the NSA monitoring Jeff's site. Nancy may have had a class with Mr. Scott when he taught at Salem in the 60s. I liked your letters to him. For a very rural school I think SHS had an exceptional group of teachers for our time.


At 6:41 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Nancy might have had Mr. Scott for music or art. As I recall, Nancy was an artistic sort -- didn't she do a performance dressed up as a tomboy with a red baseball cap turned around on her head? I think the routine was called "My Stomach," and Nancy talked about all the things that made her stomach ache. As art and music instructor, Mr. Scott might also have had something to do with drama as well. Ask Nancy . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again--yes, Nancy has done a great lot of local theater over the years, starting at Salem. (not sure if you were aware of that, Jay, I expect you are?). She's been in a jillion things in Searcy I believe, but sadly I've never seen a one, I need to correct that one of these days darn it. --Pete


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