Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ping pong balls- part of life?

Mapelton had a fun idea that has been done other places. Mapelton, I understand, tried this for the first time the evening of their 24th festivities. A ping pong ball drop from a helicopter! 800 balls I heard would fall to the ground to the hands of eager children. 16 or so balls would be marked with a code that meant they had won a brand new bike! I will tell you how I pictured this and then I will tell you how it happened.

I thought that there would be about 600 kids...mostly under 10 years old spread out on a grassy knoll. The kids would have a walmart bag to collect their balls or at least use their shirts to gather the balls. I pictured that the balls would fall down in a slow fashion and would be spread out gently and expansively by the breeze of the chopper blades. I pictured Easter egg hunt fashion and jovial smiles as they collected up their balls. After all the balls were found we would go through our 5 or 6 balls (the math doesn't add up, but I wasn't that analytical) and wait for them to call out our number like bingo! There would be jumping and celebrating. I didn't actually expect a bike, but the game itself would be fun! actuality, we thought we would be late so Steve dropped us off at an intersection, and we (Jenna, Zac and I) ran wildly (and pregers) to the "northeast side of the field". (I am from Indiana people!- Give me a landmark, mountains don't count yet...they are everywhere!) There were mumbled rules about "parents standing back behind the trashcans" (elusive trash cans) and "you only get 1 ball or you are disqualified". (oops, put away the walmart bag!) We get to the place out of breath and hot from the sun. (It was a grassy knoll, however!) The helicopter appears from a valley in the mountain and that was very exciting. Then he has the audacity to fly-by like 3 times teasing the crowd as we wait somewhat confused for the balls. I hear parents around me asking each other, "will this be a stampede?" The time came when the balls would fall, he opened his trash bag and florescent balls fell from the sky to well-over a thousand people, and then parents and teens and children of all ages scurry for balls, good luck if you weren't in the selected area where they fell. Then it was over.
1 swoop, balls drop, people scurry, and many kids were empty-handed and confused...walking around like, "I didn't get a ball." It seemed like 20 balls fell and for some reason I cared- more than the kids. I said, "It's ok. No big deal. It was cool to see the helicopter!" The kids didn't cry or anything, their shoulders were undoubtedly slumped momentarily, but there were no injuries or ugly competitiveness witnessed. They moved on and wanted to play on the playground with Calvin. Why did I care? Well, those darn preconceived ideas for starters! It was just a bit of a let down. Let me emphasize that this is no insult to sweet Mapleton or the organizers. It's just me! I thought, life has been a little jading for Steve and me. Instead of "lucky ping pong balls", Steve has been laid off, we have faced financial hardship, and are faced now with little response to resumes from a qualified and educated candidate in an economically insecure atmosphere. That is all ok, we will get through it. But by joe, my kids don't need to face rejection and dejection just yet- the let down of expectations that are dashed too quickly. I have heard it and have said it to the kids in the past when they whine that something isn't fair that, "life isn't fair..who told you that life would be fair?". I reflect on that ideology and think, "what kind of bitter view on the world am I teaching my kids?" Yes, it is true and realistic, but what is the point of plowing forward without hope of fairness? Just food for thought.
I value the 3 virtues of faith, hope and charity, but also I acknowledge that I am human and for that hot, anticlimactic, let-down of a moment or 15, I was bitter and thought that the kids at least needed a ball in their hand...didn't even have to be a winner ball. Oh well, we all have our share of let downs and "lucky ping pong balls". It makes life a journey- unpredictable, with moments of bitterness that make the sweet moments that much sweeter.
Blame it on the hormones.

24th Fun

The 24th of July is fun in Utah, a holiday no less. The pioneers are celebrated for their sacrifice, faith and dedication in their trek out west for Religious freedom in the unsettled Mountains of the West. Parades, programs and fireworks are all part of the celebrations all over the state. Orem is no exception to the celebration, but we traveled just a bit south to a small town that seems to do it up right- Mapelton. We have family there. We enjoyed their parade, where all the Primaries had a float as well as the Stake Presidency. There were the veterans, the HS band, cheerleaders and student council as well. In essence, we celebrate religious freedom and the American Spirit. Afterward, food booths of course, with sno cones and cotton candy to boot. Inflatables, ring toss, musical performances and a rock climbing wall. The kids had a blast. We are at a stage in life, for the moment, where the older kids can have some freedom under the right circumstances and that makes for less chasing and stressing over them- well there is still the stressing but not like you do over a 2.5 year old that just doesn't have any sense if she or he wanders too far. Trev is still content in the shady stroller to watch the kids and eat a sno cone, so he was pleasant. Next year Trev will be the senseless, carefree 2 year old that must run, and there will be a baby in the stroller, so it will be back to harder again, but for this season, it was fun and enjoyable for us...To all things there is a time and season, huh?
I did get some shots of I did get some shots of the rock wall that the kids thought would be fun. It was Zac's idea, and he was willing to wait the long time to do it, and studied it as he waited. He ended up being scared to go much further than half way. It was fun to watch him think it out and try something new. I like his spirit. Jenna was a trooper and tore it out until she looked down and later told me that she was sure if she went too high, the whole things may tip over. This is Calvin's (Jenna's bud and cousin of some sort) hometown. It was fun to play with him. I got a shot on him on here too. He is in the light blue shirt.