Over the years, I've visited a lot of incredible schools for "Author Day" but until this week I'd never had a parade.
A parade! With floats and a marching band and kids cheering as we drove down the street.
It felt like the middle school version of Coming Home week on American Idol, and it took place in Oklahoma where Central Middle School (which has hosted me several years in a row), has become a home away from home.
The day didn't start with a parade. It started with strict instructions from the school's librarian to meet her in a church parking lot near the school. (I've learned not to ask too many questions of this librarian. I've learned that she has a vision and you just need to go with it.)
And then the day really started.
We got pulled over by a cop.
At first I thought it was a prank, set up by said librarian. So I hopped out of the car.
"Get back in your vehicle," he barked. And, from his no-BS demeanor and seeing how he was fully decked with bullet-proof vest under his uniform, sun glasses, and a firearm, I got back in the vehicle.
I powered down the window. "Uh, hi?"
"Why are you here?" he asked, scrutinizing the van.
So I explained. About the librarian. And us being authors. And doing a school visit.
"This area is under surveillance," he said. "You need to leave."
Because of his demeanor, I was now totally convinced that we had to get the heck out of the empty church parking lot before we blew his undercover operation. But still. It just came out... "Surveillance?"
He frowned and beamed authority through his sunglasses. "Yes." And then he added, "I can't believe Officer Borsch hasn't told you about this."
"Aghh!' I cried and jumped out of the van and shoved him. "You totally had me!"
He laughed and was clearly pleased, and then the librarian jumped out of his police car in a Sammy Forever shirt and I immediately started crying.
Sammy Forever! Officer Borsch! What an unbelievable prank.
And then we headed for the school, with our lights-flashing police escort, where kids in high-tops and on skateboards greeted us with cheers and signs as we wound our way through nearly 800 kids, teachers, and school staff through the campus.
And then we watched as the parade--complete with marching band, cartwheelers, skateboarders, and shopping cart floats based on our books--went by.
Pictures can't capture this, video can't capture this...it was a wild post-testing day of celebration, and I know that for the rest of my life I'll turn to Mark and say, "They did a parade! I can't believe they did a parade!"
And now, even though they can't capture it, here are a few pictures anyway!
|Officer Borsch's henchman!|
|Converse Day At CMS!|
|Sammy Keyes Forever!|
|A mini-Justice Jack|
|The Swear to Howdy float|
|An incredible display for ROAD RASH|
|Mark and the school's Bad Mobile!|
|Sammiacs ruled the day!|
|A table display in the library|
|Caradith Craven, the librarian behind it all.|