Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, but the last time I went to Disney World I was a toxic visitor.
I was 7. The trip was my First Holy Communion present – or just conveniently timed so the two events are linked in my mind. My memories of the religious ceremony are hazy – fever hazy – a white dress with a pink sash, a flower wreath settled on foam-curler ringlets, a honey ham, all my relatives.
I didn’t feel well. I didn’t want honey ham or jello mold or even dinner mints I’d have to sneak off the tray. I tried telling my mom – but she was busy changing a diaper or taking lemon squares out of the oven. Dad was talking and making drinks – he told me to run along and play.
I stumbled along and played, but without my usual impish vigor. After all the guests left I collapsed – pretty dress, curled hair, flower wreath and all – on the kitchen floor.
But we already had the trip planned – non-refundable flights, vacations forms completed and homework collected, park tickets. So I went to Disney and spread love and germs on Small World. My spots were natural camouflage on the Jungle Cruise
This trip I wasn’t contagious. It was quick; a last minute surprise getaway from St. Matt for our 5th Anniversary.* On the 4th of July St. Matt wanted to get to the park early and stay late to see the fireworks. Since we both know that I was not going to be able to handle 14 hours of straight ride-riding, it was a given I’d pack a book.
But which? I’d packed four different paper volumes and loaded a bunch onto Gilbert in preparation for the trip. Since I couldn’t make up my mind, I brought three: Tenth Grade Bleeds, Eyes Like Stars and Prophesy of the Sisters.
As we ferried over to the Magic Kingdom at 8:00 AM, I had a brainstorm. No, an inspiration. I had three great books by three fabulous authors, I was going to the most magical place in the world…. PHOTO OPPORTUNITY!**
It was like a reverse scavenger hunt. Instead of finding the books, I was finding fun places to photograph them. I scrambled all over the park feeling gleeful and mischievous. We got a few curious looks, but no one stopped or questioned us.
Of course, there was also ride-riding and confection eating and even some pausing to do some actual reading.
And there were fireworks too!
The only downside of the whole day was:
But this just means we’ll have to come back again soon.
*Have I mentioned lately that I have the BEST husband ever?
**St. Matt balked for all of 3 seconds, but I threatened him with the Tiki Room if he didn’t participate.
“July? Seriously?” he asked me.
“Yes, bud, July,” I answered.
“Are you sure?” Because he’s an all-knowing sixth grader and I’m just the teacher, he needs to double-check this.
“Well, I went to Heather Brewer’s website and it says pretty clearly that Tenth Grade Bleeds comes out July 9th.” I can say this without even a trace of sarcasm because I’ve had five years of practice.
“Man! July? I won’t even be in your class then!”
“You’ll still be allowed to read it,” I assured him.
“I know – but then we can’t talk about it. Man.” Student hangs his head, sighs, heads back to his desk and picks up his reading response journal.
A few minutes later he’s popped back over to visit. “I thought of two things.”
“Well, maybe she’ll write faster and it will be out sooner.”
“What’s the second thing?” I asked, not wanting to get into a whole discussion on the publishing industry.
“We can e-mail. But you have to promise to buy the book and read it.” He’s serious.
“Bud, did you think I wouldn’t buy the book and read it?”
“No, I know you will, but you need to buy it ON July 9th. Don’t make me wait this time.”
“Deal,” I agree and we shake.
So, on July 9th, do not call, text, e-mail or tweet at me. I’ve got a date with a vampire named Vlad and then an important e-mail to answer.
If, however, in the month since his elementary graduation, my dear reading buddy has become too 7th-grade-cool to e-mail his former teacher about books – then please call, text, e-mail AND tweet to cheer me up (and talk about the book!).