wine by the color

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I am a frequent visitor to my younger crazy nephew's nursery school. It's just around the corner from Casa Magnolia and on numerous occasions I have either dropped him off or picked him up at the school. I've also attended a variety of pageants there over the years.

But I had never been to the older CN's educational institution and I felt guilty about that. He's in the first grade and I told him I wanted to check it out. They have parents' day and even grandparents' day but no aunt's day, so I asked my sister-in-law if I could visit. Indeed I could! So today I made a guest reading appearance in his class.

I assure you, I will not spend a more entertaining, enjoyable 20 minutes this year.

When I arrived, the class was taking a spelling quiz. They quickly wrapped that up and we moved to the carpeted area of the room, where I sat in a rocking chair in front of the 20 children. I started by saying that I was A.J.'s aunt and that I was honored to be in their classroom, and how happy I was to see their class and meet everyone because A.J. always talked about how much he liked school and his friends there. I opened the book and prepared to start reading A.J.'s selection, "Amelia Bedelia's Family Album."

Before I read the first word, the fun started.

There were several girls sitting on the floor at my feet. One of them pointed to my basic brown sandals and said, "Ooh, I like your shoes," which was echoed by two other little girls. Then, another young lady upped the ante with "I really like your necklace." When I told her that had been a present from A.J., there was a lot of oohing and aahing. Finally, another young lady offered, "I just like your whole outfit." You would have thought I was dressed like a princess instead of wearing Bermuda shorts and a nice t-shirt. How I kept a straight face is beyond me. I thanked them for their gracious compliments, and finally the reading began.

The book was amusing and I interjected some ad-libs and questions to keep them involved. Upon conclusion, I opened it to questions. And hands flew into the air at an almost alarming rate.

At first, the questions were about the book. Then they were asking questions about me ("Do you have a big family?" and "Do you know everybody in your family?"). Then, they started offering personal information. One young man told me he has 80 cousins (my response: "Wow, you are really lucky to have such a big family"). A little girl informed me that although "there are five people living in my house, one of them is about to move out." I didn't press her for more details.

All the while, A.J. remained quiet, but sat beaming as his classmates peppered me with questions and stories. Then, a young man in the back of the room raised his hand and asked bluntly, "Do you know me?" Thankfully, I did, and responded, "I sure do. You play baseball with A.J." He grinned at that, and when I followed up with "and your name is Cameron," he smiled from ear to ear. And A.J. was just glowing.

Upon my departure, I got a standing ovation and looks of adoration, which made me feel like an absolute rock star. Truly, had Bruce Springsteen visited that first-grade class today, I don't think he would have received the reception I did.


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