Apparently spring has bypassed Connecticut; snow to sunburn –that’s how we roll in the nutmeg state. And like clockwork, the moment humidity reaches 80% and temps top 90 – it’s time for 5th grade Civil War Encampment Day!
Ah, blazing sun, wool tents, campfires, potato and bacon hash and the unforgettable aroma of 100 pre-pubescent 5th graders in full dress uniform marching through the war torn streets of suburbia. Can you see it? Can you SMELL it?
This is a BIG deal in our little neck of the woods, with months of lesson plans and prep work culminating into one unforgettable day. The kids love it; teachers, too. (OK, maybe not those relegated to the chow lines.) This is my second-go-round with Encampment; here’s a little snippet of last night’s conversation between my sons. (Keep in mind they are 14 and 10 – slang abounds.)
Oldest: “Yeah – encampment is kind of cool.”
Youngest: “Is the food disgusting?”
Oldest: “Nah, it’s kind of sick. And you get to chuck stuff on the fire.”
Youngest: “Fire’s cool.”
Oldest: (slow head nod) “Way sick.”
Youngest: “Does anybody shoot real guns?”
Oldest: “Nah; and you can’t bring fake guns or knives; total rip off.”
Youngest: “Not cool; what are we gonna fight with?”
Oldest: “You don’t fight; you just pretend-die and stuff. You get stabbed or shot, try and get stabbed, it’s more fun and you get more blood.”
This went on for another 20 minutes, but you get the gist. Listening to my Mensa candidate offspring, I couldn’t help but wonder if they actually grasped the struggles and heartache associated with war? (Too much?) But this morning, my doubts vanished.
As I backed the Mom-mobile out of the garage, my little soldier yelled from the backseat.
“Mom, don’t forget to put the flags outside this weekend for the troops – it’s Memorial Day.”
Proud Mom moment here; he gets it – at least on a 10 year old level.
The moment was fleeting.
“I hope I get stabbed today, that would be sick!”