Your Turn

Your Turn/Gary Woods

Posted: Nov. 4, 2018 12:01 am

When I was a kid, I wanted to be ... a baseball player. My friends and I played home run derby constantly in the neighborhood. We would choose a major league team and use their lineup batting from the left or right side of the plate like the players did.

What would you rather be doing right now? Traveling and spending time with my wife of almost 47 years, Linda, continuing our journey.

Shhhhhh! Don't tell anyone that ... I was an avid collector of depression glass and baseball cards.

Other than your wedding day and/or the birth of your children, what was your proudest moment? Being awarded the John Wood Community College "Part-time Teacher of the Year" and Pike County "Teacher of the Year" awards. These were very special because they were based on recommendations of students.

It really stinks when ... people do not carry their weight in agreed-upon group endeavors.

What word in the dictionary would your face be next to? Reliable.

I always laugh when ... I think of the hypnotist assemblies at the high school and all of the pranks that a fellow staffer played on me.

Invite any three people, living or dead, to dinner. Who are they? My grandparents, Frank and Effie Woods, who died young, and my great-grandmother Josephine Hill, all of whom I never met. In my genealogy research, I have found many photos of them and feel a closeness to them that is hard to describe. Therefore, meeting them would really be special.

At the end of a really long day at work, I like to ... dine out with friends. Now that I am retired, there are no longer long days at work. I've learned to pace myself.

People who knew me in high school thought I was ... This one was tough for me. I asked some friends that I still keep in touch with and was told by one friend that if it wasn't for me, he would have never passed chemistry. So, maybe I was helpful.

My most unforgettable brush with greatness was ... when I stood on the field at Busch Stadium next to Stan Musial and Ralph Kiner and got their autographs. Thank you, Mr. Schultz.

I would drop all my plans tonight if I had the chance to ... meet Jennifer Lawrence. I really enjoyed "The Hunger Games."

If someone gave me a million dollars, there is STILL no way I would ... ever bungee jump. Well, for a million dollars?

America should be more concerned about ... the political discourse in our country. It's OK to disagree, but we all need to be reminded that we are all role models for our younger generation. Whatever happened to being civil?

I'm OK if there's ever a national shortage of ... peas. I am not a fan.

When I'm on the Internet, I always go to ... Yahoo News to keep up on the latest craziness in U.S. politics and then straight to Free Cell or online poker to unwind from that news.

What is the most useful piece of advice you have ever received? Deek Pollard, legendary Pittsfield football coach, told me toward the end of my first year of teaching: "To be a good teacher, guard against becoming complacent." I feel this is good advice in all fields. We must continue to grow and better ourselves.

When I'm cruising down the road, I'm likely listening to ... Sirius 006 -- the '60s.

I always get sentimental when ... I see servicemen reunited with their families after long separations, especially children at surprise events.

The older I get, the more I realize ... that time passes by fast.

If I had one "do-over," I would ... start my genealogy research at a much younger age. I have many questions to ask my parents and grandparents that may never get answered.

My favorite item of clothing is ... a black and red Pikeland Staff jacket given to me by the office staff at the Pikeland Board Office.

If I've learned anything at all ... Hard work and a good effort in all you do pays off.

Gary Woods, 69, grew up in Springfield and graduated from Lanphier High School. He has degrees from Western Illinois University, University of Illinois and University of Illinois Springfield. He and his wife, Linda, are the proud parents of four children, all with successful careers. Woods spent 42 wonderful years in the Pikeland School District in Pittsfield teaching math and as an administrator.