These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

the migrant kids ride again

after a day off work yesterday -- seriously, i wasn't feeling too hot -- and spending time last night sitting on the front porch in the late evening glancig over hemingway books (which is relaxing, since i work during the eveings and rarely get a chance to relax out there), today i'm better. not a hundred percent, but better nonetheless.

i had to be better. this morning mrs. irizarry's third-graders were coming to the newspaper for a tour. i couldn't back out. i went in first and tolda few people what was happening, then slipped out the employee entrance. they were already waiting by the wheelchair access ramp.

i had no more than stepped out of the small glass enclosure leading outside, when i hear, "mr. garcia, mr. garcia."

after quickintroductions again, we went off, showed them the downstairs area, up to see rick, cheri, melanie and rich. i showed them my desk (the kids really dug the homer doll), then down to the scary basement and fianlly to the big machine in the tunnel.

the kids were attentive, asked rick and rich questions. i think they were attracted to the room; they kept looking around at various things.

afterwards, i was invited to eat lunch with the group at the gazebo of centennial park. i sat with a few of the girls who asked me to sit there, the boys wanted me to sit with them. i finally did. then they wanted a story, so i sat with denisse, rosaisela, marlynne, andy, misa and juan and set forth ona not-so-quick adventure concerning thekids.

then we played a game called, "i'm sending a letter to..." everyone is gathered in a wide circle (against the metal fencing of the gazebo) with one person in themiddle. the middle person says, "i'm sending a letter to all the boys." so all the boys must switch places (you can't simply switch with the boy next to you). and the person in the middle must run to grab a spot left open. several times i was specifically chosen, as one of the boys said, "i'm sending a letter to the guys with hairy arms." everyone laughed and i walked to the middle.

the kids got to experience the police dept., the newspaper and a bank. the educational tour continues. next week i go back to the classroom and the kids will share with me their career papers. i'm excited.

i needed the company of thekids. they like you for who you are and give love, hugs and laughter. you can't get better than that.

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