Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have you ever thought something sounded like a good idea, but then it played out differently than you imagined? I found myself right there recently. While flipping through the Sunday paper I saw a coupon for the Shrine Circus; one free kid’s ticket with one full paid adult ticket. I could take two of the grandkids for the price of one. I’m a sucker for coupons and I hadn’t been to the circus in over 20 years, so I carefully tore along the dotted lines.

The following Friday, Jackson, Mollie Jane and I were off to the 4:30 matinee at the Shrine Mosque, Abeem-Aboom-Something-or-Other. I’ve decided the Shriners make up names to challenge us civilians. The circus raises thousands of dollars for the Shriners’ Hospitals to help kids secure needed medical help they might not otherwise be able to have. Once outside Mazzio’s Pizza, ten-year-old Travis was walking funny because he had spilled Coke in his lap during lunch when he was goofing around with his friend Ross. A man approached Jim Brawner and said, “I’m a Shriner. I can help your son. Here’s my card if you want to give me a call later.”

Jim smiled, thanked him and bit his lip to keep from saying, “You want to give it a try?”

The fellas in the maroon tasseled hats guided us in the ticket buying process and through the maze up to the front door. The minute I stepped in, the smell of cotton candy, popcorn, and elephant, transported me back in time.

Two sodas, one bag of popcorn, a snow cone, and cotton candy in hand we headed for the seats. But wait, there were really cool lazar swords and butterflies we couldn’t pass up. Juggling our goods we finally settled in. Wow, three rings, clowns, elephant and pony rides had all three of us staring with our mouths open.

“Sue Sue, can we get our faces painted too?” Jackson asked, bringing me back.

“Let me see,” I said as I dug through my wallet.

“Oh Buddy, I don’t have enough money left and these guys won’t take my debit card. They want cash,” I said in disbelief realizing I only had a five dollar bill left from the $80.00 I had punched out at the ATM.

“That’s OK. We can do that next year,” he smiled as he bit into the cotton candy.

While I was silently trying to figure out how I had just spent $75.00, the lights lowered and the crowd cheered. The Ringmaster stepped into the spotlight in the traditional too-tight pants and tailed jacket, “Laaadiees and geeentelllmen, boooys and girrrls ....” Are you kidding me? It’s as if those words hit a button in my memory and here came the tears. I instantly needed my Dad.

Suddenly I realized Mollie Jane was watching me. Come on Suzette, get it together! “What’s wrong Sue Sue,” she asked?

“Oh, I think I got popcorn salt in my eye. It’s OK now. Wow, would you look at that!”

Two hours later we slowly walked out with the crowd discussing if the lions were really mad or just pretending, how scary it was to watch the guy on the high-flying wheel and the reason our feet were sticking to the floor.

When I tore the coupon out of that Sunday paper I never planned on what I was really going to experience.

Two admission tickets, one coupon $28.00

Popcorn, cotton candy, sodas and a snow cone $17.00

A lazar sword and a lazar butterfly $30.00

Memories ..... old and new Priceless!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Each year in grade school we had election of officers. Of course there were the glamorous positions of president, vice president, secretary and treasure. They all had the normal responsibilities someone in that office would be expected to fulfill. But, the office with the most important responsibility was fire Marshall. He or she got to go to a meeting in the principal’s office at the first of each month to decide when the fire drill would be for that month. That person also got to boss everyone, including the teacher, when the fire drill siren when off. I thought it would have been really cool to be the classroom fire Marshall. It was the bossing part I wanted to do, I’m quite sure.

Now the warning systems set in place in schools and in communities are a bit more sophisticated. This time of year tornado warnings are frequent. When we were in Mexico in the fall, the minute the hurricane warning was issued everyone jumped into action to prepare. Fortunately it by-passed us. We have flood warnings and fire warning we evacuate for. But, the one thing that hits without warning is an earthquake.

The only time I even got a hint of what an earthquake felt like was from a slight tremor when I was visiting California. Honestly I thought I had just had too much morning coffee, but the suddenness of it made me realize there is no warning. For one who has borderline control issues, that is an uneasy feeling.

The horrific destruction from the earthquake that hit Japan is mind boggling. They had no warning. Then the tsunami hit with short warning. The devastation and loss of life are more than I can wrap my brain around.

Watching the new reports and reading the different accounts are a bit overwhelming. My friend Jack asked the other day if I had noticed a thread running through all the reports. He went on to point out how calm the Japanese people seemed waiting for water and supplies in single file lines. When questioned some had been waiting for 2 days but answered they were sure they would have water in a little while. There was no looting, no shouting, no swearing at the government for not moving fast enough. There was no sense of entitlement, but of gratitude for help when it did arrive.

I’ve always heard if you want to see the true character of a person watch what spills out when he gets bumped. The Japanese people have not been bumped, but slammed and to watch what spills out of them is convicting to say the least.

Warning ... maybe we need to learn a thing or two.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When I was a kid, the day ended with my dad whistling for my brother and me to come home. We could go anywhere in the neighborhood if we were in earshot of his whistle. If we went inside a friend’s house, we called home as soon as we did to let Mom know where we were. There was always a jumprope spinning, bikes to be ridden, or a kickball game to join. We were always moving

I told my boys once that I never remember sitting in front of a TV during daylight hours. Travis was shocked we had TV back then. Of course there were only 3 channels and the test pattern showed up at midnight right after the national anthem, but we had TV. It just wasn’t the focal point of life.

Things are really different for this generation of grade schoolers. Where we had to get our kids to slow down, now parents are trying to figure out how to get them to move. Childhood obesity is rising at an alarming rate. The amount of food consumed and the number of calories burned is no where near in balance.

I realized how serious the problem is when I saw a public service announcement the other day featuring a boy about 10-years-old who simply said, “Don’t Super Size Me” and folded his arms as he looked sternly into the camera.

I recently received information from Emily Patterson about a fun contest promoting family health and wellness, The Family Dance Off. I’ve included the contest information below. Get your video rolling and bust out some of your best dance moves with your kids or grandkids. There are some really great prizes to be won and you will be helping the Children’s Miracle Network too. Enjoy!

Get Up and Dance with Primrose Child Care!

Dance can be a fun, easy way to introduce physical activity into your family's daily routine. As a provider of educational child care, Primrose Schools has recognized and is actively fighting against the childhood obesity epidemic.

The Family Dance-off supports Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children's hospitals, which collectively treat 17 million children annually for every illness and injury imaginable.

Families are encouraged to record and submit a 30 second video of their family dancing having fun and at the same time promoting fitness.

Participating in the Family Dance-off is easy:

1. Record a 30-second video of your family's best dance moves. Don't be afraid to let loose and be silly!

2. Visit The Family Dance-off site and upload your best take by March 19.

3. Share your video with your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

4. View and vote daily (you can place five votes per day) for your favorite family dance video!

Now for the prizes:

Not only does your family win, but the whole community wins, with $65,000 in donations to local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals:

· Grand Prize: $5,000 and Primrose will make a $30,000 donation to a local Children's Miracle Network Hospital

· 2nd Prize: $3,000 and Primrose will make a $20,000 donation to a local Children's Miracle Network Hospital

· 3rd Prize: $1,500 and Primrose will make a $15,000 donation to a local Children's Miracle Network Hospital

· All 14 Finalists will also receive a FLIP camcorder

Visit the competition site for more details on how to take part in the fight against childhood obesity, participate in the competition, and view past competitors!

Submitted by Emily Patterson on behalf of Primrose Preschools