In Arizona, the Fourth Grade field trip is the Grand Canyon. We debated on not going, as our school is tight for money and bus drivers. But, we started to ask our students how many of them had ever been to the GC. Only one! We only live 3 hours away, yet only one had ever been. So, we decided to take the kids on a Saturday and have the parents pay as much as they could. I'm so glad we took them.
We didn't all fit on one big bus, so we took another smaller bus. We call it the lunch box (don't really know where that name came from). I took turns driving with a friend of mine. As soon as we got to Holbrook, the kids started to get excited. Excited about the strangest things. They noticed that a gas station had a digital display. They oogled over it. Then a train was driving alongside the highway. The kids all ran to one side of the bus to count the trailers on the train. And each time we went under an overpass, they got excited, shouting, "bridge!". Remember, I teach 4th grade, not kinder. They just never get off the rez.
And they are so sweet. One girl pulled a half-eaten apple out of her backpack, to snack on. Half-eaten! How many of us would have thrown that away and paid big bucks for another snack? Anther girl had a bag of pretzels, and instead of eating them all by herself, she shared with everyone on the bus. So sweet. In the gift shop, the kids had a few bucks to spend. Instead of buying things for themselves, almost every child bought something for their mother. Even my "hardest" boys. My kids have hearts of gold, so pure.
The GC itself was beautiful, but uneventful. The excitement happened on the way home. Thank you so much for your prayers for our safe trip, because guardian angels are the only way to explain this. I had parked the bus at the GC and we walked around for a few hours. Then, when it was time to leave, I was still herding some kids out of the bookstore, but my friend and the other kids wanted to get into the bus. Although I had locked 2 doors, they discovered that I had left the emergency door unlocked. They opened it, climbed in, and "closed it". We drove off down the highway at 70 miles per hour for about 45 minutes. We had to stop for gas and I decided to check the back door. Sooooooooo glad I did. It wasn't latched. It wasn't even shut! It was agape by about an inch. Technically, the door should have been able to swing open just sitting there; let alone driving down the highway with the windows down. How on earth it stayed "closed" is a miracle and that no one fell out. (if you have ever read "This Present Darkness" you could see the angels holding the door shut)
I'm home now and recovering after a long week and 14 hours in a bus and a national park.