This post is dedicated to my dad on Father’s Day because he once forced me to hold (in my hand!) a worm. He had hoped to cure me of my acute Verminophobia, but merely succeeded in making it worse. It’s a good thing I don’t hold a grudge!
When I first started teaching my gardening class, I quickly noted that nothing was more interesting to all three groups of preschoolers than bugs…long, slimy, wiggly bugs in particular. (Some people would say that worms aren’t technically bugs, but they would be wrong. Anything that crawls around on the ground and creeps me up is a bug. Go ahead…look it up)
So, being the kind and self-sacrificing person that I am, I took a deep breath and went ahead with my plans to have my young students create a Worm Ranch. I diligently gathered the materials, saved table scraps for worm food and looked up any information that I could about those loathsome fascinating creatures.
The day before my class, it dawned on me that I was going to have to supply some worms as well. There was no way I was going to dig for them myself, so I started hunting for places to buy them. I asked if they sold them at the hardware store when I bought my cement. I was told that they didn’t carry them, but to check at a gas station. (A gas station?) Noting my confused look, the young man assisting me went on to inform say that it Gas Stations by a lake were the best. (Yeah…that really cleared it up). I decided that the kids were just going to have to find their own worms.
On a whim, I stopped by the little convenience store right next to the lake. There was a big sign in the window advertising that they sold bait. I’m pretty sure the clerk in that store had never seen someone so excited to buy bait before. When I brought my little containers of worms up to the counter his eyes opened wide and he mouthed “four?” Not in the mood to explain, I simply told him that I was extra hungry. I have no idea what he thought when I asked him where the soap was. (That poor man will never be the same again)
The preschoolers had a great time creating habitats for the worms. Soon it was time to introduce them to our wiggly guests. The squeals started when I dumped the mass of squirming nightwalkers on a piece of damp newspaper. The children screamed with excitement and the grown-ups with dismay. As the kids observed the worms, the parents asked anxious questions about the care and feeding of their children’s new friends. There seemed to be an awful lot of questions about how easily an earthworm could escape as well.
I almost hate to admit it, but there was a small part of me that enjoyed the discomfort these adults felt over something as beneficial and harmless as these simple little earthworms. (Not that I was going to touch one!)
Now that I understand how silly it really is, maybe…just maybe…it’s time to forgive my father for torturing me with a worm all those years ago.
Not that I would ever hold a grudge or anything…
(Happy Father’s Day Dad. Hurry up and get here!)