Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Scare (for Halloween)

This scary tale begins with me agreeing the chaperone a third grade field trip that included a bus ride and eight year olds yielding hammers. One would think that those facts alone could easily comprise a story scary enough to straighten your hair. You would be wrong.

Girlie's third grade class has been studying rocks. Everywhere we go she picks-up the rocks she sees. Apparently rocks are very interesting to eight year olds. And here I was just enjoying the shiny, gift wrapped kind.

These days I find rocks all over the house. ALL over the the dryer, in the sink, in my car, in her bureau, on the front get the idea.

Yesterday was the day of the big rock field trip. The excited kids and prematurely tired chaperones all loaded on to the yellow school bus. We drove at an unreasonably high rate of speed through the narrow and winding Connecticut roads. The roads were originally built for horses. Not for a bazillion ton school bus. The icing on the road trip cake was the steep cliffs. Most of our route was bordered by plunging drop-offs. No guard rails for these hardy New England residents.

Finally, we were granted a break from the treacherous roads. The school bus entered a privately gated nature area. I peered our enthusiastic geology tour guide ceremoniously locking the creaky gate behind the bus. Who were they trying to keep away from the rocks? Or were they trying to keep someone IN? Gulp! The scene was set for the perfect horror movie.

The school bus pulled onto the rocky field and proceed to perform a three-point turn. Backing up centimeters from a steep drop-off down to a river. Again, no guard rail there. The kids in the back (including Girlie) started screaming for the bus driver to stop. Ava, the friendly chaperone near me squeezed her eyes shut in prayer and grabbed onto her son. I, for my first time, cried on the school bus. The kids in the front may have had a chance of survival, but Girlie and myself in the back were sure to be pancakes.

The bus ended-up only this far away from careening down the embankment and into the river. This close I tell you.

Then the fun began. All of the eight year-olds were given hammers and told to crack open rocks. Seriously? What happened to visiting the post office like I did in the third grade? Who was the brain trust who decided to give kids hammers anyway? Or for that matter, who trusted me with a hammer? I came this close to amputating a child's finger when she raced out to grab a rock I was attempting to smash.

Our geology tour guide was very ummmm jazzed about his rocks. He said something about a big sheet of ice and lots of weight. I must have blanked out from laughing. Thank you to chaperone Marissa for the crack about the tour guide "getting his rocks off."

My prayers were answered and the field trip did in fact come to a safe end. Feet and noses frozen from the blustery day. Can someone tell me why my daughter has added a rock smashing hammer to her Christmas list?

Beware of the tale of the rocky field trip!


dolphyngyrl said...

That's funny, because MonkeyDo's been collecting rocks since she had sufficient dexterity to pick them up. And I totally feel you on the dryer thing. It doesn't seem to matter how many times we ask her to not store them in her pockets!

Abbie said...

I love it! I understand the stress of the field trip... but as I high school science teacher I'm so excited to see elementary school kids getting to go out and experience real science! And who knows, you may have a future geologist in your little girl!