I had set up my new tent in the family room but that’s not the same as staking it down outside. And I’d better learn how to do that before I fly to Vancouver on Friday. So after supper yesterday, I got to it in the backyard. Made a few mistakes but that sounds like me and technology. I know myself pretty well and I’ve learned to laugh at my foibles (usually). Finally the tent was up and was being embraced tenderly by the waterproof fly. Yay for me!
I was about to crawl into the finished product when I heard “Mr. Kerr!” from around the corner of the house. And striding towards me were five wonderful kids from last year’s Grade 6 class. I love them all. I’ll make up names here: Jessica, Darla, Aimee, Dinah and Jeremy … all smiles. These fine young people had graduated and are now at another school. I hardly ever see them.
I was thrilled that the kids wanted to visit me and say bon voyage. I would guess that right now their friends are most important, with adults a distant second. These Grade 7 human beings are smack dab in the middle of discovering who they are, and that’s a big job.
They wanted to crawl into the tent (which I’ve christened “Ben”). Okay … come on down! In a flash, all six of us were crowded into a two-person enclosure. We laughed and laughed, especially about Aimee, who seemed to be regularly escaping out the second door. She was a good hider. The kids chattered on about this and that, and I just sat back and beamed. What a privilege to be in the same space with them.
After awhile, they wanted a tour of my house and we went inside. Four of them squeezed onto the couch and whipped through the pages of the book that the class created for me at the end of last year. “Darla, here’s something else you said to Mr. Kerr!” Aimee curled up in my red lazy boy chair and poured through kids’ books I’d bought at a recent book fair. One was called “Hotel Bruce”, a particularly apt title I thought.
Then it was time for the grand tour. I love the colours of my walls: red, rust brown, yellow, blue, turquoise, green and purple. I think the kids enjoyed them too. Jessica played my keyboard in the bedroom. Kids bounced on the bed. One ventured behind the shower curtain in my ensuite bath. In the den, I told them the story of the ancient toy truck I was holding. When I was five or so, I left the truck outside and a bird pooped on the cab. “Somebody painted my truck!” I screamed the next morning. Mom and dad took their time in letting me know what really happened.
In the family room downstairs, Darla started in on her rap lyrics. Actually, she was pretty good at it. Jeremy wanted to know more about my ride across Canada and I loved answering his questions. They all wanted to try my cross country ski machine and managed to schuss along in their sock feet without hurting themselves. At one point, I looked around to see Dinah rolling on my exercise ball. Gosh, it was fun!
Aimee, Jeremy and Darla had to get home so Jessica, Dinah and I headed back to the living room where we talked about life and family and goats and bike rides and writing. Dinah said she wanted to read all my blog posts, which would be a trick since there are 682 of them (soon to be 683!)
Finally the last two walked out my front door and waved goodbye. “Have a good time, Mr. Kerr.” I sure will, kids. I will see my country by bicycle and meet Canadians at every turn. Plus I’ll often think of those five young’uns crammed into my tent. Thank you for including me in your lives, dear ones.