Thanksgiving by the Numbers

We also talked about why turkey costs least when demand is highest. Go ahead, call us nerds.

We also talked about why turkey costs least when demand is highest. Go ahead, call us nerds.

“Would you like more Martinelli’s?” Devin asked Grandpa at Thanksgiving dinner.

“Sure,” he said, “I’ll have 11/9ths of a glass.”

“Okay,” Devin held a dish under Grandpa’s glass, prepared to overflow it to show that he was paying attention.

Daddy taught mathematics for 44 years. Sabrina is chair of the math department at Sierra College. David teaches high school math. And even those of us who aren’t math teachers are number comfy.

I once used the word “equidistant” in casual conversation and a teacher-friend of Sabrina’s nodded like I was using the secret handshake.

Personally, I think it’s because there were five of kids and we had to always pay attention. One piece of pineapple left? Cut it into five equal pieces. Whoever cuts, picks last.

If there are two slices of pineapple left, how do you cut up that pineapple? What if two of the five of us are gone and there are four slices of pineapple?

Keep that up for a dozen years and before you know it, you are a math teacher.

Especially loved the story David told over Thanksgiving about his “most improved student ever”. The kid arrived in David’s geometry class sporting an average in the low 40s and an open distaste for math. Talked about how bad he was, and his mother agreed, just wanted him to pass. David saw flashes of smarts, however, and worked with the guy. “What if you are wrong, I’m right, and you really are bright?” He agreed to give it a try..maybe….and 15 weeks later he has a 92.7% average. And now love math.

Some families might arm wrestle over the last piece of dessert…years ago Devin wanted the final corner of my Cherry Delight. We could’ve made him share it but we were all full anyway so Daddy and Sabrina told him he could have it if he could figure out the square root of ten, to the hundredths place, with a pencil.

And he did.

“My students think I’m kidding when I tell stories like that.”

She’s not.

Dickens was wrong….each happy family can be happy in its own way.


About Karen Ray

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