I went on a field trip as a parent volunteer on your very first field trip. All three parent volunteers had laryngitis and were coughing the whole week leading up to event, but aside from Caleb’s mom who declined as the day went on, we felt fine after a couple of days of yuck earlier in the week. We just sounded terrible, or rather, absent. Your poor teacher looked at the three of us walking in with no voices, quietly turned her gaze to you and your 19 classmates who were bouncing off the walls because it’s your first field trip, then slowly back to us with a blank stare.
I would have cracked a joke, but jokes need voices, and as it turns out, so do parent volunteers. 🙂
The three parent volunteers, all at a different point in this viral journey, went to the bathroom under the guise of having to pee and passed out pills like Sudafed, DayQuil and cough drops. It felt weird to be hiding in the bathroom built for little children passing out decongestants like the stereotypical rebel kids in high school movies pass out Ecstasy.
You guys were all wonderful and excited. While the general structure of a bus is the same as when I was a wee-little, there was one key difference: Seatbelts. Also the same? While you kids were buckled up, you all tattled on the adults not wearing seatbelts. In our defense, like most buses through the ages there were some broken things, like a window that wouldn’t go back up after it was
rolled slid down and of course, some of the seatbelts. The adults took the seats without the working safety equipment, but all you guys saw were big people not belting up, pining for the day you would not have to buckle up.
It also turned out that this was your first time on a bus. You’ve been at school nearly a complete school year and this was your first time on a school bus. This is clearly a city-kid phenomenon. It was also the most exciting part of the trip for the entire class. While the farm was fun, I’m pretty sure you guys would have been quite content just riding around Metro Boston on a school bus singing at the top of your lungs.
When we arrived at Smolak Farm, we saw acres upon acres of a New England fruit and veggie farm. There were apple orchards, plum trees, fields for harvesting later in the year, pumpkin patches.
There were also free ranging Quail, which reminded me of the time our country had a vice president shoot a lawyer in the face at a quail hunt. True story. Also, the guy was totally fine, all things considered.
Also, there were some caged animals forever linked to farm life thanks to songs like Old MacDonald, like pigs, chickens, and…
In New England.
And the Peahen, which is the all-white lady counterpart to the peacock in one species of Peafowl. Of all the things I expected to see on the farm, this was not one of them.
When we loaded up on the tractors for the hay ride, I realized something. The more the tour guide talked about compost, peaches, apples and growing a corn maze, the more you guys tuned out and longed for the bus – not because you wanted to go back, but because you guys really liked the bus.
Also, the more she talked, the more the adults listened.
“Really? Compost for 5 years for maximum effect on yearling apple trees. Huh. I never knew that.” I distinctly remembered being a small kid ignoring the tour guides unless they were talking about snack time or pet-the-animals time, and I remember seeing the adults getting into the tour guide’s lecture. I thought they were taking pity on the lecturer, but nope. They were fascinated and trying to take it all in.
Circle of life, I suppose.
As the day went on, the three volunteers alternated between who could vocalize instructions as laryngitis ebbed and flowed through the day. We should have turned the hacking into Morse code for the kids.
Three short. Three long. Three short.
Send another volunteer to aid.
After snack, some running around, a trip to the porta potty (which was the hardest part for all y’all), lunch and back to the bus, half of you sang at the top of your little lungs obscure Disney songs, and the other half passed out cold.
It’s amazing to be four-years-old.
I’m quite certain you won’t ever love the bus as much as you did that day ever again, but man was it so cute.