When adolescents and preteens don their swimsuits on a two-story inflatable water slide on the grounds of the Seminary, you know it's time for the annual parish picnic. As in years past, we tend to self-segregate. The families with younger kids tend to gather in one area; the families with teenagers and college kids gather in another area; older couples and singles gather in yet another area. Yet again, for the umpteenth year, we spread our blanket with the same two families.
Along with the water slide, the jazz band, the popcorn machine, the snow cone machine, and the moonbounce all made their return. Plenty of fried chicken to go around, even if all the breasts and legs were gone in a heartbeat. Perhaps someone needs to genetically alter chickens so that they have eight breasts and legs and only two wings and thighs.
In past years, our rector's wife used her husband as a fund-raising opportunity by encouraging parishioners to put in money to get the rector to go down the water slide in his collar. But she passed away from skin cancer almost a year ago exactly leaving her husband with three sons. So the only adults on the water slide this year were the fathers with children too small to slide on their own but who still wanted to join the big kids.
There is one big kid in the parish. He's actually the youth minister. A good-looking single guy not yet 30. He was impressed that our second daughter, mad at him for making her leave youth group once, maintained her cold-shoulder treatment of him for two weeks. Most youths who threaten never to speak to him again only last an hour or two. But at heart, he's still a kid himself.
Case in point... He was standing at our blanket talking to the second daughter, her best friend, and me when, all of a sudden, he started running for the moonbounce, my daughter and her BFF fast on his heels. He lead the two teenage girls into the moonbounce which was full of five- to seven-year-old boys. Squeals erupted from inside as they, presumably, caused said youngsters to bounce wildly up and down. By the time I reached the moonbounce, the youth minister had organized all the kids to try to roll the moonbounce by running from one side to another as if on a ship. Thank goodness it was anchored to the ground at all four corners!
Watching my daughter bounce around inside made me want to climb inside myself. But for the fact that I was wearing a skirt and there were too many other parents keeping watch on their kids, I just might have. Maybe next year. After all, next year is another moonbounce.