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Sunday, September 21, 2008


While you were slumbering early last Thursday, our entire seventh grade had already boarded a bus. As you were snoring gently I was scrambling madly for a plastic bag and then wiping the evidence of a motion sick student from my pant leg a mere 20 minutes into the trip. About the time your alarm went off we were pulling into the Moose Visitors Center in Grand Teton National Park. You were eating breakfast probably about the time we wrestled some string cheese and granola bars from the cargo section of the bus and busted into them in the parking lot. As you arrived at work we were most likely entering Yellowstone Park, and during your first mid-morning bathroom break we must have been de-bussing at Old Faithful. Your sandwich was going down probably almost exactly as Old Faithful was going up, and if you'd have had your computer on the Old Faithful cam (mounted discreetly in a tree) website, you would have seen us leaping and waving our arms to show up on your computer screen.

Say WHAT?????? We're on top of a volcano?????

You were glancing at the clock about the time we skipped along a boardwalk flanked on both sides by crazy steaming ponds surrounded by gurgling bubbling teapots of geothermic madness! You were asking your boss about a deadline; we were pondering the logistics of fishing in a river fed constantly by boiling water!!

You changed your ink cartridge; we spotted a shaggy mountain goat half way up a mountain!

About the time your head was nodding for an afternoon snooze at your desk, all 105 of us were peering over the guardrail at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
You may have been jotting off a memo when we stood above the brink of both the Lower and Upper Falls. You were conferring with a colleague; we were hiking straight down the trail so that we could hover above thousands and thousands of gallons of water as they crashed several stories below us. You sharpened your pencil; we yelled at kids leaving the trail to take a shortcut. You checked your email; I grabbed a kid who narrowly escaped slipping down the side of a mountain into a gaping canyon crevice.

You were just leaving your parking lot when we chanced upon a herd of buffalo crossing the road in front of us. You were waving your arms at the bozo who darted in front of you; we hung out the windows flailing our arms at the furry beast and handed cameras across the aisle to snap pictures! "Anybody here speak buffalo????"
You sat down to a warm meal probably about the time we were looking into our individual coolers FOR THE TENTH TIME to see if that warm cheeseburger had appeared yet. Here's guessing that your supper didn't resemble the Twinkies, Snickers, or Dr. Peppers that we ate. You settled down for a couple of hours of TV; we resolved ourselves to the 6 hour bus trip home.

Final Tally: Cost of admittance to a day in a National Park--Free if you can prove you have an educational agenda.
Food (all you can fit in a small cooler): Approximately $25 (unless of course you left it in the backseat at 4:50 A.M. this morning--then you'd better hope someone is generous!)
Souvenirs: Depends on how many are in your family!
18 Hours with your favorite teachers mostly on a school bus: priceless...


Laura said...

Yuck! Sorry about the puked on leg.

I believe you went on another educational Yellowstone trip about 16 years ago. Possibly the same one that I was on. You generously shared your Twizzlers with everyone on the bus. Yum!

Your pictures make me excited for the Yellowstone trip that my family is taking this week. Hooray!

Mad Hadder said...

Of course I remember that trip!!! I've mentioned it quite a few times lately. That's amazing that you can recall the Twizzlers. I have no recollection of that. I do remember the gas stove we had to get down on the floor on our hands and knees to light!

Shelly said...

Sounds like an awesome adventure. But all those kids under my supervision?...That is why all the kids love YOU and YOU are the 7th grade teacher. Nice writing, but I don't have to tell you that.

Merinn said...

I'm glad that I wasn't on that bus.

Mad Hadder said...

Oh but Merinn! It would have been a different trip with YOUR class...enough said.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley