Today I was able to volunteer on a 3rd grade field trip. We are taking a trip to see the Wetlands and release the salmon that the school has been taking care of…..or something like that. All I know is there was fish, and the fish were almost left behind.
I had the pleasure of hanging out with my favorite group of 3rd graders, many of them all wanting to sit next to me on the bus. What could possibly go wrong?!
Well. Did you know that one school bus is not big enough to accommodate three 3rd grade classes, plus their teachers, along with maybe five parent volunteers? Yep, neither did anyone else. That’s okay though because one of the teachers, the one who will be refered to as “Wingman” from here on out, had the pretty brilliant idea of another teacher driving, let’s call her Snow White, while Wingman and I hitched a ride. That would clear up about three seats, and you can squeeze three little people into a bus seat. Problem solved. So far I am loving this field trip. Of course that meant that the last of the 3rd grade teachers would be stuck on the bus with about 75 kids, but she is a trooper, she totally has this!
And off we go. Snow White driving, Wingman in the passenger seat, leaving me to relax in the backseat. Things are looking pretty good from where I am sitting.
“I can’t find my phone.”
Words that no one really wants to hear when we are on our way to visit the Wetlands. Being able to be in constant communication would be of the utmost importance. Right? Wingman did not think so. Somehow, he left his phone at the school. This will not end well. It’s important that you remember those words, this will not end well. I mean who does not take their phone with them?
After about a nine minute drive, we finally arrive at our destination. Funny how we were not the only school apparently taking a field trip today. Traffic was so backed up near the entrance there was nothing Snow White could do except just sit and wait…and kick Wingman and I out of the car so we could go find out where the 75 kids were.
And we were off, while Snow White tried desperately to find a parking space that did not put her in a different county.
After about 15 minutes of complete chaos, all classes, teachers and salmon were accounted for. Each class went in a different direction, led by a park guide. I think we had a pretty good system in place (if I do say so myself) Wingman would lead his class, and I would fall in as the caboose, right behind the last kid, this way making sure no kid gets left behind….or pushes another into the swampy Wetlands. Everything was going smoothly.
We were in some cabin thing. (I probably should have paid more attention to what kind of cabin this was) All little people safely inside, while Wingman and I guarded the entrance. One way in, one way out.
After the cabin, we were to make “a bit of a walk” to some other station. No problem! Except, there was. An adorable little boy, who I will call Danny. I mean I think that is his name, but I am not completely sure. He looks like a Danny so we will just go with that. Danny comes up to me, “Mrs Pedro, Mrs Pedro, I lost my lunchbox, I think it is in one of the cabins.”
I let Wingman know the current situation, and he instructed me to take little Danny back to said cabin and try to locate the lunchbox. We would then meet up with the class after “a bit of a walk.”
Wingman and the class were off in one direction, while little Danny and I had to backtrack. I mean I was fully willing to call up Pizza Hut to see if they could deliver a pizza to the Wetlands, but little Danny was so intent on finding his lunchbox, I had to make this work.
Finally! Lunchbox is retrieved. Danny and I set out to find our group. We made our way to the path and we walked, and walked, and walked, and then I started to panic. “Oh for the love of God do not let me be lost, here, in the middle of the Wetlands!” Danny looks at me, I look at him, and figured we are officially screwed. Seriously, we were the only ones on this walking path. No other of the 52 classes I saw, including my own, were anywhere in sight. No one. It was like a ghost town, like a zombie apocalyps….and this little boy is counting on me to get him safely back to his class. Just great. If this were a video game, I would already be dead.
We walk some more and I see another class. Not from our school mind you, but at least it was SOMEONE. “Hi, excuse me, are there any other classes in the direction you just came from?” The very nice lady explains to me that no, there were no other classes in the direction they came from. Of course not.
It was now time for me to regroup. I did not want to walk further and further into the Wetlands, not knowing if I was getting us closer to the class or further away. It was time to make a phone call. I will call Wingman….Oh,wait, that’s right, he left his phone at school!
I did not have the phone number to the other third grade teachers, but I did have them as friends on my Facebook. I looked at Danny who is now looking up at me for answers. “Okay, lets take a break. I am going to message Snow White on Facebook and see if she can help us out.” Danny seems satisfied with that answer. Looking up at me with big brown eyes he innocently asks “What is Facebook.” I quickly bypassed that question and sent a text. I was hoping she would be able to sense my desperation through the screen.
I do not know exactly how long it was between the time I sent the desperate text and when Danny and I finally found our group, but it felt like a lifetime! As soon as Danny saw his class, he ran up to his fellow classmates. As soon as I saw Wingman, I marched up and proclaimed “WE GOT LOST AND COULD HAVE DIED!”
Wingman rolled his eyes. Which seems to be a habit of his.
After being safely reunited with the group, it was now time to go even further into the Wetlands to finally release the salmon. Again, more walking. Beautiful scenery on both sides of the elevated walking path, that in a small way reminded me of Mr Miyagi’s garden from “Karate Kid.” It was something. Lots of twist and turns, many times the path not being wide enough for two people to walk comfortable side by side. The kids were excited when they would spot a snail….or a dead frog.
And then finally, we were there. We made it to our destination. It was as if the heavens opened up and a bright glorious light was shining down on, well, my luck! I made my way over to Wingman and discreetly whispered “Finally, some eye candy for me!”
Wingman was pretty excited as well. “I know, right! Which one do you like?”
I discretely nodded my head in the direction of the one I was most drawn to. “I got you bro!” Before I knew it Wingman had my phone in his hand (because you know, he left his at the school!) and started taking pics. Lots and lots of pics to commemorate the third grade field trip.
As far as the salmon goes, if anyone is actually interested. This is how they are safely released into the Wetlands.
This field trip was definitely one for the books……or a blog.