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lunch invitation...

Thursday, April 20, 2017
... that was intended to be a 'thank you' for the literacy volunteers. An assortment of people who have been in various elementary schools over the past year, reading a variety of books with pre-K students in an effort to help improve their pre-reading skills. The things a kid needs to know to be ready for promoting to Kindergarten classes in the fall. Stuff like: identifying colors, shapes, knowing letters and numbers, being able to write your name. Recognizing illustrations of various common animals, like dogs, cats, cows, chickens, frogs. Pretty daunting task for kids who have never been held books, or been in an environment where there is no one who takes the time to sit and talk, explain things. Or look at the cereal box and point out letters, colors, reading the words.

I've been doing it for several years: going to a particular school one morning a week for a series of eight weeks. Spending a half hour with a small person, looking at a different book each week, talking about the words, illustrations, what sounds different animals make like 'cluck' and 'moo'. For the past couple of years there has been a lunch of sorts at the library as our reward for donating time to the program.

Today was the day of the end-of-year luncheon. Running errands, I arrived precisely at high noon. When I got to the library, people were streaming out the doors, and there was a big red ladder truck parked in front of the building. Folk I recognized from tutoring were standing in the parking lot, hanging around under a tree that produced insufficient shade. I inquired and discovered that there was a freon leak in the building, and everyone had been evacuated. The staff was told they could possibly return to their workplace in thirty to forty-five minutes.

That was a complete falsehood. I sat with others in the hot parking lot for an hour. Then an employee said they were told the building had to 'air out' for an hour before people could be allowed back  inside.  By that time about half of the folk who had been invited to the luncheon had lost interest and left. Or maybe felt like they had invested all the time they were willing to give standing in the sun with no hope of being fed. Those who remained of  group I was with had a picnic on the asphalt.

The leadership of the Literacy program had brought a hot lunch of chicken, green salad, mac'n'cheese, green bean casserole, rolls, tea. Which they rolled out into the parking lot when we found we would not be to eat in the community room as planned. They went across the street to the Just A Buck store and bought all the aluminum cake pans off the shelf, rolls of aluminum foil and we filled our make-do plates, covered. It was a most unusual 'thank you' event.

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