The Chalk Walk (Dogwood Arts Council) Knoxville, Tennessee

Chalk Walk 8 by Joe Dunckel

The Chalk Walk

By Joe Dunckel

Sidewalk and Blackboard Chalk were originally made from the sedimentary rock of the same name. It is generally considered to be non-toxic but, eating it is not advisable.

Back in 1957, when I was in the fourth grade, one of my classmates use to eat sticks of the stuff. He would lubricate it with a dipping sauce of Elmer’s paste glue. We called him “Paul the Goat”.

One day, Sister Jean Marie noticed Paul swiping a piece of her chalk and dunking it into an open jar of Elmer’s that she had left sitting on her desk. He took a nice big bite and placed the rest in his pocket. The whole class broke up laughing.

The Sister didn’t say anything, she just went to the Blackboard and grabbed herself another piece of chalk. She turned it on its side and filled the whole board with squeaky streaks of the white calcium carbonate. The class went silent, “The Goat” kept crunching away.

Once the board was covered, from one end to the other, the good Sister grabbed two erasers and started to delete her work. It took her a few minutes to wipe the whole board clear. She slowly turned around and faced the class, she put the erasers behind her back and levitated down the aisle between our desks. In the 50’s, nuns really could do that.

When she reached Paul, her hands exploded from behind her back, she peppered his face in a cloud of dust. Once the dust had settled, the Goat’s face looked like a Ringling Brothers Clown.

Sister Jean leaned down next to Paul’s ear and whispered.

“The Lord will bless you Goat, but only if you stop eating my chalk.”

Fast forward sixty years, this past weekend my wife Leigh and I had a wonderful time viewing the artwork of the Dogwoods Arts Council 10th Anniversary Chalk Walk located at Market Square downtown Knoxville, Tennessee.

These talented artists might have licked their fingertips to shade their composition but, I’m pretty sure they weren’t eating sticks of their medium like “The Goat.” They were competing for serious prize money. Thousands of people, from near and far, came to view and vote on their pictures.

These artisans had spent hours completing their marvelous works and I couldn’t help but think that the next morning their creations would be washed away like the sand castles on a distant beach.

I can’t draw worth a lick but, I thought I could use my Canon EOS7D to help preserve some of their artwork for you to enjoy.