As I mentioned earlier, Friday was field trip day for M. with the bonus of having me tag along as a driver/chaperone. We were going to Conner Prairie, one of those old time re-creation towns that is on the site of one of the first white settlements in Central Indiana. It’s also five minutes from our house and I had never been there in almost nine years living here. Hey, we’ve been busy!

I was dreading the trip a little, mostly because I imagined a carload of screaming first-graders making the drive to-and-from Conner Prairie a nightmare. There were enough parents, though, that only one of M.’s classmates rode with us, and she is a friend who has been to our house before and knows me, so there was no uncomfortable, shy quiet from her. They giggled and sang the whole way there.

We had over three hours to explore the site. There’s a lot to see, but on a day when the temperature was well into the 90s, that was a long time. We were free to go wherever we wanted, so we often joined into groups of 4-6 girls and their chaperones and wandered together. The girls were excited to see the schoolhouse, the hospital, the pottery store, and the hotel. The telegraph station was a big hit. Any time we came across a horse or cow there were squeals of delight. The baby animals in the barn were a huge hit, although the extremely pregnant mama sheep was kind of gross with her misshapen belly.

One girl in the group tried to get her picture taken with a rooster. He responded by pecking her leg and drawing blood. A mom who was close to the incident said, “Those roosters do NOT like having their pictures taken!” Indeed.

I enjoyed the Civil War section, although the girls weren’t very interested in my half-assed explanation for why there was a Civil War. Probably for the best, as there was a group of African-American students around us then and the conversation could have been extremely awkward had the girls started asking questions.

Did I mention it was hot? The drinking fountains were very popular. By about 1:15 all the girls were running out of energy and only the 10 minutes scheduled for the playground at the end of the tour kept them going. But even that turned into a bust as a trip to the bathroom kept our group from getting to the playground long enough to play every long. But they weren’t too disappointed to be herded back towards the cars and vans for the trip back to school.

I’ve avoided these school trips for the most part, always having the excuse of a baby or younger sister at home to get me out of them. I’m pretty sure that excuse is disappearing though, and this was the first of many, many volunteer opportunities for me at St. P’s. I hope they all go as smoothly as this one did.