Each year we have attempted to go to the Great Swamp Conservancy’s Halloween party. Each year we have different challenges to deal with. The first year we went, for example, it proved to be way too much for Theo and he retreated to the van while the girls and daddy went through the various exhibits housed in the group’s barn.
Last year the weather was perfect! But Theo wasn’t having any of the Halloween fun. He was, instead, enjoying the picnic area happily eating his snacks while the girls and dad, again, visited the barn.
The volunteer organization decks out its barn with various Halloween-themed stops — a witches lair where she subtly promotes good bugs, a bat cave (that would normally sent chills up my spine but, lucky me, it’s all cute stuffed animal bats), a craft corner, a walk-through aquarium, a piñata booth, as well as several carnival-type games, face painting and snacks.
My colleague, who happens to volunteer at the organization, set me up with the annual coloring contest application. And the day I brought it home Miss Gretchen went right to work.
After all, she LOVES Halloween. (Olena does too, but she’s in it for the outfit, of course. Theo, eh, nope. The Boss doesn’t do Halloween but he does notice the different decorations and he likes looking at some of the neighborhood kids decked out in costumes.)
So, anyway, Gretchen sat right down and colored every inch of that paper. And before you know it — boom — she was done and the paper was hanging on the refrigerator.
It hung on our refrigerator for two weeks. Right up front. Proudly signed and ready to go.
The week before the event poor Gretchen came down with whatever virus is plaguing Canastota schools… and the results were not pretty. On the plus side, she was feeling better and ready to go by the weekend.
And, to make matters even MORE exciting, the night before the event Olena got sick and that morning Theo just didn’t seem to want to do anything so this year DAD sat home with Theo and Olena and I got to take Gretchen to the Swamp… (Which dad thinks sounds exactly like something they’d say in Mystery Science Theater 3000 [“…In the not to distant future…”]… “I’m taking her to the swamp!”)
Gretchen donned her new witches outfit and I threw together a witches outfit as well, and away we went. And before we opened the door to leave we remembered the art!
It was quite a treat being able to walk through the barn with Gretchen. In fact, we walked through twice. But we at least remembered to turn our picture in when we registered, and we then enjoyed the event. Gretchen even walked away with a few trinkets for participating in the carnival games.
But the best news came in the form of a phone call — or should I say, a message on our answering machine. As I was doing laundry, and Olena was recovering, and Theo watching Beastie Boys the call came in and Olena listened to the whole thing.
She walked over to me while doing laundry…
“Mom, the phone rang. I jumped a mile! I didn’t know what to do. It’s something for Gretchen and the coloring contest.”
“Oh, wait, what? They called Gretchen…(light bulb appears) OH?!! Gretchen? Did she win? Did she win the contest?!”
“Yeah, apparently, she’s the best colorer in our age group.”
“Wow, she’s going to be so excited! It’s a big basket. Maybe she will share some with you.”
(Olena, unimpressed) “Yeah. She’s just a better colorer that’s all.”
Tonight we sorted through the loot.
Tonight I have one happy little girl! And another who just thinks her sister is the best colorer around.
Tonight I welcome the happy.
She deserves it.
Until next time.
PS: She also received a Super Citizen award at school for good behavior!