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Making a difference in my life

There are many people that can make a difference in our lives. Teachers do this more than anyone.

I was fortunate throughout my school years to have many fine educators.

But there is always one that stands out.

Mrs. Melynda Cowan, my high school composition teacher, showed a lot more patience with me than any human being should ever have to.

I think that I took advantage of her good nature more times than I could ever count.

Here are some examples just to let you know what this poor woman went through.

On one occasion we had a disagreement. I don't remember what it was about, but I do remember that I was right (at least in my own mind).

I had to make some bold statement to prove that I was right. So I took her car keys and locked myself in her car.

I sat in the car mocking her for a little while until I figured out that this might not have been the best way to prove my point.

In most cases, this would have led to certain suspension.

But Mrs. Cowan was willing to let it slide.

On another occasion she caught me feeding her goldfish Skittles "just to see what would happen."

Again, she was willing to let it slide.

Don't let me fool you. If she were mad at you she let you know it.

This lady was no pushover.

You certainly didn't want to be on her bad side.

But you had to try pretty hard to get on that bad side.

I had some pretty good partners in crime back then to help me out.

The notorious Nathan Aldridge and Andy Scurlock were always there to help me have more fun than a person should at school.

We all shared the same "get out of jail free card" with Mrs. Cowan.

Because of this we always find the time to pay her a visit when we are back in Butler.

Around Christmas we will even pool our funds together to buy her a Slim Jim and some Funions for her stocking.

I was very surprised last week when I answered the phone at my desk and she was on the other end.

She had called to tell me that the mothers of the world would rise up against me for encouraging uncles everywhere to give their nieces and nephews candy.

She also said that I had not represented my hometown very well because the only story I had told was of a deer being slain with a whiskey bottle.

That inspired me to shed a more positive light on Butler.

I figured there was no one better to write about than everyone's favorite teacher Mrs. Cowan.

She has stopped teaching now to go into business and spend more time with her children.

But she is still always willing to listen and lend some helpful advice.

Mrs. Cowan is proof that teachers can be a student's friend.

She never hesitates to make me laugh and I can honestly say that I am a better person for having her as a teacher.

Rick Couch may be reached at

383-9302, ext. 132 or

via email at rick. couch@greenvilleadvocate.com.