Friday, May 21, 2010

Change is Good

I am not sure what it says about me that I managed to scrounge up four dollars in change out of my car this afternoon.

Probably just that they were selling ice cream at Not Bad President Elementary and the girls were hungry. It is amazing what you can do when there is ice cream at the other end of it, especially here in Wisconsin. This is a state where the ice cream section of the average grocery store is bigger than all of the grocery stories combined that I went to in the UK when we visited a few years back. But that is a country with warm beer, so what to they know about ice cream?

They also have coins that double as manhole covers, so removing enough coins from your car to pay for two ice cream cups would probably increase your gas mileage (kilometerage?) by nearly 40%. It was kind of a let down to spend a week or so carrying around the slag heap that is a pile of pound- and 50p-coins and then return to the United States and be handed a dime. How can we in the US even consider ourselves an economic powerhouse when our coins are that flimsy?

But it was walkabout day down at NBPE, in honor of the gym teacher who passed away last fall. They're trying to build a track with his name on it, and this was one of the fundraisers - most of the kids spent the day walking around the field surrounding the school to raise money, and the process continued after school let out as well. One of the local ice cream vendors showed up as part of it, with half the proceeds going to the track. So it was worth digging around in the car a bit.

I actually spent most of the day over at NBPE, which was a nice break from a hectic week of grading, exams, and other end-of-semester heartache.

A couple of months ago, Tabitha came home and said that her class was discussing the Underground Railroad and the local UGRR site. Now, it happens that I used to run that site, so I volunteered to come in and talk to her class about it. And then one thing led to another, and it morphed into two separate hour-long presentations, one to the fourth grade and one to the fifth, though in the end they were only 45 minutes each and the PTA chipped in to make a nice donation to the UGRR site, so it all worked out well.

Tabitha said I did not embarrass her any more than usual.

But I got there at noon, and with the walk-a-thon on top of everything I didn't get home until nearly 4:30, by which time my blood sugar levels had reached Kelvin-scale lows and I simply sat in my chair for half an hour eating until I felt better. That's not a bad way to spend time, really.

If only I'd found another eight quarters in the car, I could have gotten an ice cream for me too.

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