On Friday, I traveled to Old Salem, in Winston-Salem, NC, with a bunch of fifth graders. As with the last big field trip I attended, I arrived at the school to find a bunch of the chaperones in their cars, ready to follow the big comfy charter buses on the journey. Can someone explain this to me? Why spend $50 in gas and add the mileage to your car when you can sit and relax on the bus? Do they think the kids run wild on the bus, leaping around, tossing footballs, and screaming? That just isn't the way it works. Every kid seems to come equipped with an iPod, iPad, iPhone, iDoodlepad, iBook, iVCR, or iWalkman and sits quietly entertaining himself. Until somebody can prove to me that there is actually a good reason for driving, I will continue to be one of the chaperones who shells out ten bucks for a seat on the bus.
About halfway there, one poor kid got carsick and threw up. The teacher came down the aisle, sent the kid to the bathroom to clean up, sat down, and sighed. A student asked him, "What are you doing?" He sighed again and said, "Well, I'm just contemplating how to deal with this." It was at that moment that I uncovered one more reason that I could never be a teacher... dealing with other kids' vomit. I have a hard enough time dealing with vomit spewing from my own kids. I certainly don't want to clean up after somebody else's kid. The teacher then got up, snapped on some gloves from the first aid kit, and another kid exclaimed, "It's the Barf Patrol!!" Poor guy. I'm sure he didn't start off his day expecting to be the "Barf Patrol." This is yet another reason teachers don't get paid nearly enough.
I suppose kids vomiting on the bus could be construed as a reason for driving your own car, but it honestly didn't bother me too much. I wasn't the poor teacher who had to clean it up. I guess the nice thing would have been to offer to help him, but I just buried my head in my book instead.
When we arrived at Old Salem, I was teamed up with 5 girls and two other chaperones... pretty easy ratio. I never did figure out exactly how they broke up the groups. Another group from Elise's class was six boys and one chaperone. I definitely got the easier end of that deal.
We wandered around, chatted with a single brother,
a single sister,
and a shoemaker.
I found it all really fascinating. It has probably been 20 years since I had last been to Old Salem, so it was mostly all new to me. I thought the girls might get bored, but I really think they were interested in all of it too. Their eyes glazed over occassionally, but that's to be expected. Mostly, I think they had a lot of fun.
Before lunch, we visited my personal favorite spot in Old Salem, Winkler's Bakery. From the moment I was confirmed as a chaperone for this field trip, I have been looking forward to the Moravian sugar cake. Not to say I wasn't looking forward to spending quality time with the children too... there was that. Sure... the children. The Moravian sugar cake though... to die for. I walked into Winkler's, threw my credit card down on the counter and excitedly said, "sugar cake, please!" The guy at the register said, "Sorry, we're out." What? What sort of Moravian bakery runs OUT of sugar cake? I rode all this way on a bus with fifty students, one of whom was puking. What do you mean you're out? What a way to crush my day. I bought an apple streudel and cherry streudel instead which I will grudgingly admit were absolutely delicious.
After a picnic lunch, we walked around a little more,
pumped some water,
and learned about firing muskets.
Before heading back to the bus at the end of the day, I popped in the bakery one last time. Good ol' Winkler redeemed himself. Fresh sugar cake had been baked and was ready for purchase. Thank goodness! Otherwise I might have had to chalk up the entire trip to a big fat loss (except for the educational value, quality time with kids, volunteering my time with the school, enjoying the weather and all).
We walked back over the bridge under the beautiful Moravian stars with sugar cake in hand, memories from a fun day, and smiles on our faces.
Then I slept the whole way back... on the bus... not in my car while driving. See... that's the beauty of the bus.