You can leave the camera in the car for weeks, and the day after you take it out you need it. That was my disappointment in downtown Hudson, Mich., on the season s warmest day.
Try to picture a group of children gathered on the grass under a giant maple tree on a hill, each with ice cream cone or slush. If ever there was a seasonal shot celebrating the beginning of summer and the end of the school year, that was it.
It was beautiful. They were happy and I was happy to be there to see them.
I had rushed to the window at Bobbye s to beat the crowd to order my hot fudge sundae, and a baby dip in a cup for Digby. That may sound pushy and impolite, but wow, there surely were a lot of children heading into the ice cream shop parking lot, and I envisioned a long wait, even though Bobbye s does have two order windows. That day Bobbye Sanford herself was tending one. She opened the shop to serve soft ice cream and pizza 22 years ago.
Once I had the large hot fudge sundae in tow and Digby was lapping on the small vanilla dip in the back seat of the car, it was refreshing to watch the children, standing in line politely and deciding what flavor to order. We walked all the way from school, one little girl explained.
School is the Lincoln Elementary School in the Hudson system, not too far away, but still a good hike for the adults who had to manage more than 100 children.
The children were fifth-graders and their kindergarten buddies. The two age groups share projects through the year, but for the last week of school, the senior children decided that an ice cream walk would be a nice ending to the year.
Becky Lawrence, a fifth-grade teacher with 30 years tenure, defines pairing the two groups for joint projects as a cross-grade system. They learn so much from each other, she explained.
Each year, after the fifth-graders choose their buddies, she is pleased to watch and listen to the exchanges between them.
My fifth-graders are so patient with their buddies. They like to help them; I have even seen them teaching a buddy how to tie his shoes.
Partnership reading is a prime project that is shared during the year. After a book has been read together and discussed, both ages go into the computer lab where a comprehensive test tells them how well they understood what they read.
Creative, fun projects include working together to make construction paper Christmas reindeer and Halloween magnets.
For the ice cream outing, each child could order a small cone or slush and after eating, it was back to school and almost bus time.
On the walk back, Mrs. Lawrence overheard one of her fifth-graders telling his buddy, Come on, you can do this, we are almost home.
Actually I had made the six-mile trip into Hudson from Posey Lake to go to the post office and to see what progress had been made at Bob s Market House. It is one of the biggest things that s happened in Hudson for a long time. From a 23,000-square-foot grocery store where we knew where things were, it has grown into a 54,000-square-foot supermarket, just like downtown we could honestly say.
The project, which houses other businesses, including a hardware store and a bank, is so large several houses had to be demolished to make room. It has been amazing to watch the growth of a supermarket that was never closed while under construction, and it will be equally amazing when customers learn where things are.
Food shopping always makes me hungry. That s when I had to reason: Will it be watermelon that is on my diet or ice cream that is on my wish list?
I asked Digby. He hates watermelon. And that s how and why we got to Bobbye s for a delightful summer picture of children and ice cream.