Reading Time: 2 minutes

[Another favorite from the archives. Next new post on Groundhog Day.]

First appeared on Sept 25, 2007

Went with Delaney to the “Dads ‘n’ Donuts” event at her school the other day. A fine selection. We finished eating and socializing in the gym a bit early, so we sauntered back to her kindergarten classroom. A couple of dads were already there, being toured by the hand around the classroom by their progeny. Laney grabbed my hand and we joined the conga line.

“This is where alllll of the books are,” Laney said. “And that’s the whiteboard. Here’s the globe, and the puppets…and this,” she gestured proudly, “is my desk!”

I barely heard the last two, since I was still riveted on the whiteboard — which, oh-by-the-way, had THIS on it — scroll ye down:

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THIS WEEK!
cross

I am neither making this up nor exaggerating its appearance. Much. The actual medium was dry-erase markers, not tie-dye, but that is amazingly close to the actual appearance of the glorious crux splendidior on the whiteboard in my daughter’s public school classroom.

And what a cross it was! Every color of the rainbow! I’d have burst into a chorus of Crown Him with Many Crowns if not for eleven or twelve things.

Déjà vu. I flashed back to the near-encounter with FAITH at Curriculum Night. But this one was in full view. If anyone else had me in view, they’d have surely assumed I’d suffered a small but effective stroke. I was completely frozen and trying to stay that way. Time stopped, looked at me funny, then continued on its way. I knew that if I came to, I’d leap onto a chair and point and squeal “CROSS! CRAWWWWWWSSSSS!!” I’d have no choice: the point-and-shriek is mandated for all encounters with crosses in the by-laws of the Atheist-Vampire Accords of 1294.

A little girl entered my periphery, guiding her father by the hand. “And this,” she said, pointing to the cross, “is what we’re learning about this week!”

She paused for dramatic effect, then announced, with pedantic precision, “Lower-case t!”

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.