Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Abandoning the Internet

Saturday afternoon we went thrifting - I love taking my girls because it's the one time I can sort of say, "Get whatever you like!"  Usually we are on such a budget that every purchase is weighed carefully -- but at a thrift shop, if you see a funky pair of red sunglasses that flip up, and if they make you smile, and if they're 99cents....well then -- throw them in the basket, they're yours!

After that we went to Kroger to buy snacks.  We were debating between two different snacks when I noticed the backpacked stranger muttering to himself near us.  We changed aisles, and he followed.  We changed again and he followed.  Kara was holding the bags and discussing which one was better when I grabbed both bags and threw them in the cart, "Let's get both!"
The girls looked up, startled.
I am not usually so generous with the snack food.
I scooted them out of the store and told them what was going on.  They were half-scared, half-thrilled and pretty pumped about two bags of snacks.

Next stop was Joann fabrics, to buy material for the girls' first sewing project ever.  Usually I meet the most irritable employees in that store, but this time we hit the jackpot.  I asked a question regarding sizing and the lady at the cutting table leaned over to study the pattern and talked with all three of us for a long time, giving us so much help!  She was kind and patient and not grumpy at all.

We left the grocery store so quickly that we forgot about drinks, so we stopped at KFC for a soda.  While there, an employee ran in breathless and pointed out the window.  She had tried to help a blind man cross a really busy street but he said he was alright without help.
We all watched as he made his way across Grand River with a long cane and sure enough he made it safely.  Sometimes fast food employees get a bad rap, so I liked hearing my girls say how cool it was of that employee, running out to the street to try to help a stranger.

The MSU Jazz Orchestra was playing at a festival in town, so we parked and found our seats by about 9:30.  I love that we have such quality music available to us (for free!) in such a small town.  After awhile I could see that the girls were getting tired so we walked around a bit - somebody took our picture, we people-watched, and looked at some huge paintings that were being made right on the spot.  It was so nice to be there without an agenda.
"One more song", I said, and then we left.

I taught the girls my technique for walking back to my car in the city in the dark.
Find a group of strangers that look nice and stick close to them.
We found a bunch of kids in shorts and polo shirts. 
Yes, we judged a book by its cover :-)
We caught up to them and walked almost on their heels all the way to the car.

We slammed the car doors and the girls were anxious to get home, but I was sitting there feeling irritable because the night was so so beautiful, and because I suspected that they just wanted to return to their beloved internet.  I probably said something to that effect, in a whiny voice, telling them that they never want to have any fun and look, there's a swingset right in front of us! 
We had parked right next to a playground.

There was a pause and then they said, "Oh alright!" and we practically leaped back out of the car, laughing and jumping onto the swings, doing the monkey bars and climbing the rope ladder.  We all paused almost at the same time and I said, "Where is that music coming from?"

Kara looked and pointed, "It's a movie!"

We squinted across the length of the park.  We could see a tiny moving picture at the end of it.  It was so far away, I thought maybe it was East Lansing's "Movies in the Park" night or something and I took off, saying, "Let's go!!"

The girls followed me, but the closer we got, the more I suspected that this was not a public movie show.  We drew right up next to five kids laying on beach towels on the grass, their projector flickering Indiana Jones onto a sheet tacked up onto a brick wall, sound system blaring the theme song as Indiana ran ahead of that huge rolling stone.

I felt suddenly awkward.  Their skateboards were in a pile near my feet.  The girls skidded to a stop behind me and I called out, "Hey, can we watch too?"

They looked up and immediately said, "Heck yeah!  Sit down!  Hey you want some pizza?"

A high school boy slid a pizza box to us across the grass.  We looked at each other and sat down, feeling happy and silly.  We ate their pizza.  We watched about a quarter of the movie until it started to sprinkle.  It was time to go home.

So all the way home we laughed and talked about what a great night it was.  We kind of crammed a bunch of things into one day, but we also went through it in a very random, unplanned way, just letting things happen and being open to surprises.

People are so interesting.
I like to get my family out of the imaginary world in books and on tv and of course facebook, and into real living.

Well, at least once a summer.  :-)


Brian Miller said...

what a magical night...the movie at the end was very cool...neat find...the guy in the grocery a bit scary...sounds like a great night overall...

Dale & Liz said...

I think you've heard it before, "I want to be in your family!" Oh wait ... I am :-)

---Uncle Dale

mrc-w said...

What a great night!
I can't say it enough - I LOVE SUMMER!!! Of course, these kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventures can happen in other seasons too, but somehow summertime makes them seem so much more fun!

Heidi Lee said...

I love that story!