Today was the second last day of school and the Grade 5/6 kids got to play board games most of the day. They had so much fun. Laughter and shouts filled the air. Amid all the hubbub, I occasionally looked around to see what life is all about.
1. For a long while, I played “The Game of Life” with five enthusiasts. It took this adult a bit of time to figure out what the rules were, and the youngsters were so patient with me as I groped along. “No, Mr. Kerr, you need to do this” – said with no edge or impatience. I think they were simply happy that I was at the table with them. I was happy too.
2. As the six of us made choices about education, career, homes, pets and hobbies, and dealt with the money impact of those choices, a girl sat near us but outside the edge of play. “Jessica” looked like she didn’t want to play but did want the companionship. One of the wheeler dealer game players, “Joy”, was the closest to Jessica. Once Joy had had her turn, she would usually lean towards Jessica and update her about her income and property situation. I mostly couldn’t hear Joy’s words but there was no mistaking the smiles on Jessica’s face.
3. As the games in the Grade 5/6 portable continued, a game of tag was in progress among the school staff. If another adult touched you with a certain green highlighter, you were “it”. The job then was to approach another colleague sweetly and calmly whip out the marker when they were lulled into comfort. The dear teachers and educational assistants made sure to include this volunteering human in the festivities. In fact the whole exercise brought us all together – no one escaped the highlighter, or the laughter.
4. On the yard at recess, two Grade 2 or 3 girls came bouncing up to me. One stood in front of me, took my hands in hers and started in on a clapping and slapping and singing game, in which I got to share my favourite colour, my favourite number, and other stuff that I can’t remember. She was directing my hands to go this way and that in co-ordination with hers, laughing all the while. Her friend stood off to the side, beaming. Then it was their turn. The two of them did the whole patter at the speed of light. Giggles all around as the old guy was brought into the realm of the 8-year-olds.
5. It was nearly home time, and Jayne had let the kids out a few minutes early. They were bouncing basketballs, swinging on the swings or just chatting. And here come the Kindergarten kids, some seemingly with backpacks as big as them. Those little ones look at me and launch into yesterday’s chant: “Mr. Kerr! Mr. Kerr!” Oh my God. All this for me. They kept it up and I tried to shhh them but some hardy souls kept up the beat … out of their mouths and out of their eyes. Thanks, kids.
6. Minutes ago, I got in Scarlet and headed to London for a house concert. The hosts aren’t expecting me for weeks. I pulled onto the 401, our local freeway, something I’ve done hundreds of times. Seconds later, fear flooded me. Even though no bicycles were allowed on this road, the speed was the same as in B.C. This time I was in a car, not emotionally naked on my bike. Still, I started shaking.
And then something opened inside. Some force or some person, perhaps my lovely wife Jodiette, was there with me … calming me, holding me.
All is well