Oh, _ _ _ _ _ _ _!

Oh, no! That word jumped off the page at me, and the awareness of everything else in the classroom setting faded away. Our excellent, but no-nonsense, speech teacher had just assigned reading parts to the class and handed out the script. Quickly scanning the first page, I screeched to a stop when I hit that word!

You see, I knew that Connie had been assigned to read that line. With few exceptions, almost any one in the class could have read that profane word without any personal concern. But I knew Connie. I knew of her high standards in every area of her life and of her integrity in maintaining those standards with no compromise. She just exemplified purity and freshness and happiness. Clean thoughts and language were carefully guarded. Now suddenly she was expected to violate that standard by a teacher who saw nothing wrong at all with such language. The script was already being read aloud, and I wondered what she would do. Then it was time for Connie’s part.

“Oh, PUMPKIN!” she thundered! The startled class suddenly broke out in good-natured laughter. Our teacher looked up quickly from her paper with a surprised expression and momentarily studied Connie. Slowly a smile was born and then grew into full bloom as she realized that Connie wasn’t after attention or just trying to be funny. But Connie simply continued reading her part as though nothing unusual had happened.

[illustration] Illustrated by Roger Motzkus