Monday, May 14, 2007

A Field Trip

Friday was a fun day with the Dylan and his classmates. His school had its annual “Heritage Day” field trip, dealing mostly with the mining boom days in California in the mid and late 1800’s. I didn’t get a shot of Dylan in his full western garb because the little rascal lost his hat in the first half hour. He looks pretty natural in his western boots and cowboy hat. Maybe I’ll get him to don his duds another time for a photo.

There were some reenactments and demonstrations. One of them involved a replica of a stagecoach. I was drawn to the obvious craftsmanship involved (when I pick up a wrench folks tend to flee in terror), and had a short conversation with Jack, the owner, builder, and “driver” of the stage.

He’s built five of ‘em. He started 16 years ago, when he helped a friend build one. It’s a labor of love for him; he says that he probably couldn’t sell the stage for what he his invested in it, and that’s not even counting his labor.

He also raised his mules from birth. The two girls are fifteen and sixteen, and come from a line of horses and donkeys first owned by Jack’s grandfather. I was almost as fascinated by the mules as by the stage: Mules, despite their association with comedy and such base traits as stubbornness, have always seemed almost regal when compared to horses. Jack says that they’re really not smarter, they’re just sort of different.

Dylan had a grand time. It was great to see his music teacher, Mr. Burkett, back in action following a health problem. The guy is just amazing in how he gets kids to respond, and I’m very happy to see him back.

Hm. Sometimes I’m jealous of my own kid. When I was in elementary school, field trips were never so fun.

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