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Painting a Path

I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.



Truth and opinion.

A warm sunny Monday morning and the second week of school. Third-grader Travis Milton was so proud of the painting he painted over the weekend. His momma Lena wrapped it in a nice clean towel so Travis could take it to school to show his new Art Teacher. He carefully carried it to the bus stop and explained the large wrapped thing to his curious fellow students that it was his best painting. They all wanted to see it but Travis promised them he would show them at the end of the day. He wanted his Art Teacher, Mr. Mackings to be the first to see it. When the bus arrived at the Berkings Grade School, Travis carefully carried his painting off the bus and through the double doors.

He walked down the hall to the art classroom. Mr. Mackings saw him come in the door and said, "Hello Mr. Milton. What do we have here?" Travis excitedly answered, "I painted a deer in the winter woods. It took me all day Saturday and part of Sunday." Mr. Mackings said, "Well let's see it," as Travis handed him the towel-covered, painted on canvas board art. He removed the towel and handed it to Travis. Travis smiled and said, "My momma taught me how to paint from where the light comes from. All the snow is on the same side of the trees and the deer is." Mr. Mackings cut him off and angrily snapped, "You did not paint this Mr. Milton. How dare you come into my classroom and in my presence with an obvious lie."

Travis was stunned as he started to speak but Mr. Milton shoved the painting back into Travis's hands and scorned him, "You have earned an F in art Mr. Milton. Never ever bring someone else's work that you claim to be yours in here again. I will not tolerate it!" Mr. Mackings pointed to the door and told Travis to get out of his sight.

Travis was devastated and heartbroken. Travis had painted the painting all by himself. His mother, Lena gave him lessons from the time he was five years old but she never touched a pencil or brush on the painting. Travis went to his Teacher Mrs. Mary Clark's room, sat at his desk, and recovered his painting with the towel. Other children were coming into the room and sitting at their desks. Mrs. Clark noticed the sad and hurt look on Travis's face. She quickly arranged some papers on her desk and went to talk with Travis.

Teacher Mary


Concerned Teacher

She asked, "Travis, are you OK? What do you you have under the cloth?" Tears formed in his eyes as he said, "My painting." She asked, "Why are you sad?" Travis reluctantly answered, "Mr. Mackings said I didn't paint it. He got mad at me." Mrs. Clark said, "Oh he did, did he? Can I see it?" Travis pulled the towel away and handed her the painting. Mrs. Clark held it out in front of her and said, "This is beautiful. I love the deer, the snow, and the trees."

She handed the painting back to Travis, smiled, and said, "Well Travis...I believe you painted your painting." Tears rolled down his cheeks as he handed the painting back to Mrs. Clark and said, "I want you to have it." Mrs. Clark wiped his and tears her own tears as she accepted the gift. She put her hand on his cheek and said, "This gift should come with a smile." Travis smiled a little and Mrs. Clark went back to her desk and placed the painting on the tray of the chalkboard. She had the children open their English workbooks and read a story while she excused herself from the room. She told the students that she would be back in a few minutes.

JUST DOWN THE HALL...Mrs. Mary Clark called Mr. Mackings out of his classroom. Mr. Mackings snarled, "I would guess this is about Travis Milton?" Mrs. Clark unloaded both barrels of 00 buckshot pi**ed off fired up female at him." She put her finger in his face and growled, "You just broke the heart of a little boy. I have never in my 15 years of teaching came across such a damn cruel, heartless, buffoon, moron, idiot, narcissistic, piece of teaching trash like you." He started to speak but she hushed him and said, "You do know his mother is an artist. She painted commissioned murals in the city building. She has obviously taught her son how to paint."Mr. Mackings grumbled, "I know that. I also know that boy did not paint that painting. She probably painted it for him. "

Mrs. Clark said, "I tell you what...dipsh*t. I am going to have Travis come to my house this weekend and paint another painting of two deer in the winter woods. His mother, Lena who I am well acquainted with I am sure will be glad to have Travis paint for me." Mrs. Clark moved closer to his face and snarled, "I am going to prove you wrong. If I ever hear of you treating Travis or any student this poorly again, I will take the stun gun from my purse, shove it down your pants and sting your little Van Gogh until your ears fall off! Do you understand me?" Mr. Mackings smirked and said, "Oh I'm so scared." Mrs. Clark smiled and said, "You'd better be. Might want to tighten that belt if you want to test me." As his smirk faded to a frown, Mrs. Clark went back to her classroom.



The Assembly

The following week on Monday, Mrs. Clark took Travis's paintings to school with her. At 10:00 in the morning, the principal called for an assembly in the auditorium. When the time came, the students and teachers walked in to see two of Travis's paintings on easels on each side of the podium. Mr. Mackings rolled his eyes when he saw the paintings. When all were seated, Mrs. Clark walked up to the podium and spoke, "Welcome Students, Teachers, Staff, and Mrs. Lena Milton.

Our Principal, Mr. Amdens has allowed me to gather all of you to hear about a special student. His name is Travis Milton. He is an artist." She pointed to her left and said, "Here is a painting of a deer in the winter woods that Travis painted two weekends ago. On my right is a picture of two deer in the winter woods that Travis painted with my supervision this past weekend. Both are beautiful paintings. Do you agree?" There was applause and cheers. She continued, "Our less than distinguished Art Teacher, Mr. Mackings didn't believe that Travis could paint so well. This painting on the right proved him wrong." Red-faced Mr. Mackings stood up and briskly walked out of the auditorium as he cowardly shouted, "Liar!"

Mrs. Clark had Travis and Lena stand by his paintings as the applause became louder and louder. Travis was so overwhelmed, that he gave his Teacher a hug. After a few more words from Mrs. Clark and Lena Milton, Principal Amdens announced that Mr. Mackings was no longer employed at Berkings Grade School. When the applause was over, Travis looked at his deer in the winter woods painting. He wiped a small tear away and smiled.

Learning to paint.


Author's Note:

A Teacher can enhance or destroy a child's passion for art, music, literature, etc. The early years of grade school are especially important in the directions and interests a child will take in life. To smother their works with doubt and anger is a tentacle of hate coming from a cruel heartless place in someone who is supposed to stand in a position of respect, dignity, and honor. This story is based on a true story but the little boy didn't give the painting to his good teacher. He didn't turn to anyone that day. His Dad taught him how to paint animals and winters in the woods. He put his painting in the trash. He did have many wonderful Teachers throughout his life who gave him care, inspiration, guidance, and wisdom.

I was 27 years old before I touched another paintbrush on canvas. I began painting my path again.

© 2022 Tom Cornett

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