The closest to Normal (Illinois) that I've ever been.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Farm day

Friday, Sam's teacher had the entire 4th grade over to her farm. This is an annual event that she has been hosting for 20 years. Anyone who went to Glenn Elementary has visited the farm, so its kind of a big deal. The farm was 40 minutes out of Normal through small, smaller and smallest rural towns, but it was worth the trip! Sam's teacher's husband grows soybeans, corn, pumpkins and cows. They also have an amazing farm dog named Diesel. We went on a hayride from the barn to the pumpkin patch and the rottweiler followed the tractor across the fields and down the highway. The first time I saw the dog go near the highway, I nearly had a heart attack, but apparently Diesel knows how to look both ways before crossing the street, and how to stay out of traffic when he is running alongside the tractor. I had no idea that a dog could actually be expected to take on that kind of responsibility, but Diesel seemed to know what he was doing.
I would suppose that farm people think that I am crazy when they see me walking Argos on a leash. Argos is like a giant subsidized baby compared to a farm dog like Diesel. I am pretty sure that Argos wouldn't survive long on a farm, what with all of his random phobias.

The kids got to pick out pumpkins: they farm grows baking pumpkins for Libby, so the pumpkins are pale on the outside, but bright orange on the inside. I think that we will draw faces on them, rather than carving them so that we can make pie.

The most surprising thing about the trip was watching Sam interacting with his classmates. From Sam's account, I had the impression that Sam didn't really have friends at school. Actually, he seemed very comfortable with the other kids and they actively included him in whatever conversations or activities were going on. Perhaps I misinterpreted his statements that he didn't have any friends at school. I think he meant that he has loads of acquaintances and "work friends," however, he doesn't have enough in common with them to pursue any deeper friendships.

We gave one of Sam's neighborhood friends a ride to the farm, and that was interesting too. His friend has an oddly mature nature--he is very self-possessed and stoic for such a little guy. After chatting with Joseph on the ride to the farm, Sam's friend casually mentioned that he had had a baby brother who had died at 9 months old. This explains why, although he occasionally likes to play with Joseph, he seems a little wistful. I suppose that he is imagining how it would have been to have his own little brother. It was eye-opening for me to realize that a kid Sam's age could have such a complex inner life. My kids have so far lead a tragedy-free existence so they mostly focus on playing and having a good time.

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