Dear Jimmy Clark

Dear Jimmy Clark,

When I saw your comment on my blog yesterday I went back in time, past my flannel and ponytail stage in the early nineties, past my mullet and rugby shirt phase in the late eighties, all the way back to a cold cafeteria at Rice Elementary School in Tyler, Texas.

There I sat on a plastic seat welded to a long table, my feet stretching to tap impatiently on the white asbestos tile below.

Then you ascended the stage.  And you spoke hope into our lives, Jimmy Clark.

You promised me change.  You promised me a Coke machine and Pac Man if you were elected, Jimmy Clark.  You promised, Jimmy Clark.

For days I passed your Pac Man shaped campaign posters in the hallways, inspired by your vision of my future, one soon to be infused with joy by an abundance of caffeine and ghosts with “inky” names.

I cast my ballot and you were elected our student body president.  I brought a roll of quarters to school every day after that, Jimmy Clark.  A roll of quarters, Jimmy Clark.  But there was no Pac Man or Coke machine to digest my currency and dispense wonderment into my wee life, Jimmy Clark.  Not one.

I forgive you, Jimmy Clark.  I forgive you for carelessly tethering my hopes to your unrealistic dreams of a grade school utopia.  I forgive you.  You were only eleven and I’ve since learned that caffeine gives you cancer and PacMan was boring.

Good to hear from you, Jimmy Clark.  Say howdy to your folks for me.  And the next time I’m in the neighborhood we should grab some TexMex and talk music…or politics.


Shaun Groves

Rice Elementary ‘85