Monday, April 6, 2009

Boys on the Bus

After a very hectic week of doctor’s appointments—three to be exact—babysitting, house cleaning and prep for our field trip we were ready to roll. We were glad that David’s doctor said he no longer needed to be on crutches. His bedroom lamp was a casualty of a crutch gone astray. The gaping hole in his knee will still take several weeks to heal over. Of course it doesn’t help that he keeps sliding on his knees and reopening the wound. So he had an all-clear for his field trip.

Robert E. Lee House at Arlington Cemetery
So Friday morning I headed out in the pre-dawn hours at the back of a bus filled with 75 thirteen year-old BOYS. There were just two other moms on the bus and they sat in the first rows away from the fray. We had a total of 300 eighth graders heading to see the nation’s capital—two buses of girls and two buses of boys. You wanna bet the person who organized the bus arrangements was on a girls’ bus.

I was amazed at the number of kids who had MP3 players and cell phones, but few had an actual camera. The kids borrowed and tossed their expensive electronics with no regard to how much their parents had spent on them. I allowed David to use my MP3 player on the drive up. Yes, I have one, and no, he doesn’t. He had one and can’t find it so until he can save up the money he will not be receiving another one. The music kept David quiet and content for a good part of the trip. When we got very close he started his seat jumping and I was left all alone.

One of the guards at
the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
We arrived at Arlington Cemetery and began the long uphill trek to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was a rough walk because David flips from walking slowly to an almost outright jog up the hill. We stood and watched as the soldiers placed a wreath at the tomb. Years ago there was much more gun twirling than they had on this visit. We were very sad to not see the guns being thrown from one soldier to the other in such crisp movements. But David was impressed anyway.

On our way back down to meet the bus David was running to catch up with a friend. I had just yelled “don’t run” when, splat! David had gone off the sidewalk and slipped in the mud. It had been raining lightly all morning. When David got up his school uniform was a mess—the shirttail, both sleeves, pants and my backpack were covered in a wet mushy mess. Luckily one of the teachers chaperoning the trip was kind enough to loan David an extra shirt he had brought. Of course, this made David stand out since he was the only student not in his school uniform. Only my son!

Cherry blossoms
All boys on board and we headed to the Capital building. The drive over was beautiful. This was the day before the Cherry Blossom Festival and the trees were in full bloom. If you don’t know the history of these unusual trees, it really is interesting, Three thousand flowering cherry trees were a gift from the Mayor of Tokyo in 1912 honoring the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan. In 1981 Washington was able to repay the Japanese kindness when cuttings from our trees were sent to replace some cherry trees in Japan which had been destroyed in a flood.

I will share our experience at the Capital tomorrow.

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