Sitting in the back of the room, I heard her say it. “Criss cross. On your bottoms!”
It was Little Schrock’s pretty, blonde and cheerful teacher. Settling into the now-familiar rocking chair just before that famous rug, she was preparing to read them a book.
Having a slow day at work, doctors falling silent, and hearing the tick-tock of old Father Time, I’d decided to surprise my kindergartner with lunch. Then the “criss-cross applesauce” directive, and a batch of eager listeners settled in, legs crossed Indian style.
Glancing around the room, I noted a sign posted on the wall in the reading corner. “Story Rug,” it said across the top. And below it, a numbered list, one, two and three.
“Sit criss cross.” That was one. “Voices quiet.” That was two. And the last one, number three, said, “Hands in laps.”
This, I thought to myself, all scrunched up in a kindergarten chair, is exactly how I’d start if I were called to speak on The Hill. “Ladies and gentlemen,” I might say, looking out over the chamber full of legislators. “Criss cross, applesauce. On your bottoms.” Using my patented maternal laser gaze, I’d sweep the room. “Put your hands in your laps, keep your voices quiet and give me your ears.”
In a world where no one, not even the IRS, could understand a complicated tax code. In a country where the freshly-printed health care bill alone had wiped out a national forest, judging by the photos, it was time for simplicity. And if there was anything that Mama would take to the Capitol, it was simplicity.
Simplicity with a side of common sense tucked into the bright orange purse. That’s what I’d take to Washington. And I’d start with the story rug rules.
Somehow, it seems fitting that those at the top should sit, for once, on their bottoms. Should sit, like small scholars, with just carpet beneath, for it can bring one’s perspective ‘round right.