Dope on a Rope


I never dream, and I knew I was in trouble when, last summer, I had

a dream and St. Peter was in it. He said to me that “Since you’re a

benevolent, patient,long-suffering kind of guy we’re sending a group back.”

“And besides,”he said, “you don’t care about how the paint looks on

your classroom walls.”

Fast forward.

There’s this one child in my class that has never been on a field

trip. He’s 12 years old in the 5th grade. Most of his peers are 10

years old. The teachers have finally decided that retaining him is not

a good idea. Someone did the math and figured out that if he was

retained much more he he would have his driver’s license at the

beginning of his 8th grade year and they didn’t want to share the

parking lot with him.

As I said, he had never been on a field trip, but I had an idea to

solve the problem. I decided he could go on the next field trip. You

see, I have this length of rope that I carry with me on field trips,

and I fondly refer to it as my ‘Dope on a Rope’ rope. Before the field

trip I gave my big speech to the class about them not wanting to have to

hold it with me leading them around on the field trip just so they

wouldn’t get out of my sight. They also shouldn’t want to get their

name written on it along with the past miscreants (I had to tell them

what that word meant). I told the class to think of it as a rope of

shame. Of course, by now, this aforementioned child is by now grinning from ear to ear like

some kind of mutant animal from South America. It was at that point I just

should have made the decision and announced to the class that a certain

child wasn’t going or better yet cancel the field trip then and there. I didn’t, he did.

I thought it was just a regular field trip on the bus ride down until

I saw that the bus driver was wearing ear protection. Layered ear


After about ten minutes upon arriving at the destination where they

were holding the logging conference in Eureka, yes, the child that had a grin

like some kind of animal from South America was holding on to the

rope. He had run out in front of traffic just to see the startled looks

on the drivers’ faces.

Let’s just say, it was a long three hours before we left.

Before we did leave I told everyone that before we get back on the bus to

give it the ‘ole 5th grade try again and go to the bathroom. I tied

our ‘friend’ to a piece of logging equipment and went to relieve

myself and change my ear plugs before we all got back on the bus.

We all got comfortable and it was a fairly quiet and uneventful ride

home, but I did wake up a few times. I noticed that the bus driver was

no longer wearing hearing protection and the students just sounded

like the low buzz of an unexcited bee nest. Once someone tapped me on

the shoulder and as I struggled to come up with a good excuse for sleeping all I

could think of was “That wasn’t me that was snoring, who’s making all

the noise?” “That’s not it, Mr. Hooper. There’s a police car behind us

with it’s light bar and headlights flashing and its siren blaring,

and I think it wants us to stop!” No worries, I thought, I’m not

driving. I got comfortable again and pretended to go to sleep and

hopefully finish my dream. When I left it, I think St Peterwas trying to tell

me something.

The bus driver finally pulled over and shut the engine off preparing

to be berated by the police officer. The police officer came to an

abrupt stop behind us and jumped out with a crazed look on his face

and yelled to the front of the bus while opening the rear door of his

police car the worst news possible. “You forgot one of your students.”

Out popped the child I had tied to the piece of logging equipment

grinning from ear to ear still with a piece of rope to tied to his

wrist yelling, “Hello, Mr. Hooper. Did ‘ya miss me?”

As the police officer pulled away he yelled out the window, “Be ready

to get a bill from the logging show. Something about a piece of big


Now I know what St. Peter was trying to tell me. “He’s baaccckkk!!!”