A few months ago, my partner teacher signed up to be in the dunk tank at our school’s carnival. It was going to be hilarious. Then, she got tickets to Cirque Du Soleil, and you cannot miss out on that. So, in a haste to help my pal, I said, “I’ll do it for you!” I often commit myself in haste, and it is often not a great decision.

The principal at our school was before me; she was such a good sport! She smiled, egged kids on, and gracefully slipped into the water. She made getting dunked seem okay, even enjoyable. Getting dunked was not okay. When I stepped up for my turn, it was slippery, and the water was disgusting, and I had a nervous case of giggles. The boys in my class were lined up and stretching their arms. They were pumped, and the sight was pretty entertaining. My dear sweet boy that went first missed, so of course I let him know that he was my new favorite. Then a very athletic and awesome kiddo hit the button the first try, and I splashed into the water. It was gross. As I climbed back onto the seat, it wouldn’t latch. In fact, it became a recurring problem in my hour in the chair, the chair would spontaneously dunk me on its own. A father of one of my students stood by the tank and re-rigged the seat for me. Continually, I had to remind myself to put on my smile and appear to enjoy the process. The kids loved it, and I wanted very badly to love it too. One stinker in my class ran up and just pushed the button (at the encouragement of my fellow fourth grade teachers), I forced him to come around and hug me. Sadly, no one snapped a picture of that! Being in the dunk tank was a whirlwind of emotion, it sounds silly, but I felt attacked, I felt scared of not knowing when I would fall, I would fall, it was chilly, but it was reminder that when you put a on a face you can create something fun for someone else. The dunk tank was about good fun and creating a memory for the kids who paid four tickets to get me down. Signing up for the dunk tank wasn’t something I probably would have done on my own, but it was a memorable event, and at the end I felt like had accomplished something.

I tried to convince my assailants to come hug me, but there were very few takers.


Book Recommendation: Tunnel People

My mother recommended Tunnel People a couple months ago, and I didn’t give the suggestion much attention. I added it to my library reserve list when I was trying to look for a few new reads. Nonfiction can be tricky for me, I truly enjoy learning about true experiences, but only when there is still a story element.  In this book, Teun Voeten, a Dutch reporter decides to stay with people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels of New York City. He lives with one specific group for 2 months in the winter, and then returns for 3 months in the summer.

Voeten really gets to know these people, and I felt like I got to know them too. Becoming emotionally invested in the problems of others is something I do with people I know, so because I felt like I knew Bernard and the other tunnel dwellers, I became very emotionally invested in their stories. These people did not consider themselves homeless, they had a home, a home in a tunnel. There was no rent, they made their houses out of boards and whatever else they had or could find, they cooked on grills, and borrowed electricity from the park above ground.

The author was very clearly reporting, not sharing a message. He interviews many community leaders, pastors, police officers, and employees of the trains about the homelessness. He doesn’t claim to know the answer for Americans, but the reality is, we have lots of homeless people in our country, the numbers are sketchy because people don’t live in one place or fill out the census. But we are all people, everyone has a story, a battle they are fighting. Putting stories with a cause raises awareness, and raised awareness can lead to change.

This book introduced me to some fascinating people who live their lives in a way very different from my own. It also got me thinking, which is a mark of a good book. If your looking for something different, go get it from the library, or you could buy it, or download it, or listen to it. There are lots of ways to read. Enjoy.

Grey turns 3!

My godson Grey turned 3 a couple weeks ago. I’m a little behind the times! His momma did a wonderful job, but she always does one. There were cotton candy cupcakes.

There were happy children.

There was a happy boy.

He’s so grown up!