What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

04 July 2011

How Things Change

Last year, Independence Day was our last day in Lubbock: We rolled out of town on July 5th. And just sitting here thinking about it, I am totally marvelling at all that has happened since then. It's remarkable how the human brain adapts to change: I lived in Lubbock for 10 years and 2 months, but it all seems like a dream-- I kind of feel like Elizabeth Gilbert mentions in Eat, Pray, Love, when she opens her eyes in India and it's as if she has been there forever. I may still be new here, but when I open my eyes in Austin every day, it's hard to remember everywhere else.

The real contrast, though, is in the weather: Last year, it started raining sometime on July 2nd (or it may have been July 1st) and continued in a bucketing, emptying deluge for a few days. The running club's Independence Day run was cut short, the fireworks were cancelled, and even the pre-firework show in the park was flooded out, to my great disappointment. This year, it hasn't rained to speak of for weeks (both here and in Lubbock) and the fireworks are cancelled for the opposite reason: Too dry. Bummer.

But my real thought for today didn't happen on Independence Day. It didn't happen this week, or even this year. Once upon a time, Chad and I worked at the Texas Boys Ranch, looking after boys who had been removed from their homes through no fault of their own. I took eight of them to a hockey game on my own one night, and I remember it clearly because it was the only time in seven months that I got all the boys in my charge to do as they were told at the same time. We came out of the entrance to our section in the stadium just as they were about to play the national anthem. I stopped the boys at the top of the ramp so we could stand still for the anthem, but one of them didn't notice and was goofing around, pretending to hide in the curtain behind us while all the others laughed. I grabbed his sleeve and pulled him over next to me, then hissed at all of them, "Stand still!" Then I stopped looking at them, turned toward the flag, and put my hand over my heart.

But I hadn't really stopped watching them, of course, and out of the corner of my eye I saw eight little boys look at me, then look at each other, and then every single one of them faced the flag and put his hand over his heart just like I did. It's been years, and the thought of it still fills me with pride, not just that they behaved for 30 seconds (although that was nice), but also that they realised in that moment that something important was happening. And they wanted to be part of it.

Happy Independence Day! Enjoy your picnics, your parades, and your fireworks. And if you aren't in the USA, then have a great day on me. :)


Anonymous said...

Happy 4th of July! I always love when they sing the anthem at hockey games. It's funny how patriotic pride can behave little boys. ;)

Anonymous said...

That is a moment that you and they will remember for the rest of your collective lives.

Su said...

@Madeline: I was totally amazed. And then spent a lot of time wondering how I could re-create that moment. ;)

@Delores: I hope they do. With so much gone wrong in their lives at such a young age, it would be nice for them to have something to call their own... and their country is their own. I will certainly remember it forever! :)

Karen Peterson said...

What a great story and a great moment for you AND for those boys!

Su said...

I think so, too. :)