After school today, we loaded up St. Joseph’s 24 A and B honor roll students and traveled to Pierre, South Dakota for pizza and a movie as a reward for their achievement. The younger kids played games with action figures and dolls, while the junior high students mostly slept. Funny how at that age they can sleep anytime, anywhere and in any contorted position. The first and second graders asked every few minutes, “How many more miles now?” After a while, I just deducted one mile from the last time they asked. Since I ended on 15, it meant that in the last 40 miles they asked me 25 times. Patience!
We called ahead and made a reservation at the Pizza Ranch, which serves a buffet with other kid friendly selections like chicken and mashed potatoes. The staff knew our group was coming but the other diners didn’t, and I saw the look of panic on the faces of some diners, afraid our group would be unruly and make their dining experience unpleasant. But, the Lakota boys and girls were polite and well behaved and one woman even came up as she was leaving and complimented us on their behavior. My table was with first, second and third graders. I helped them with foods they couldn’t reach, made sure they only took a little at a time and ate what they took before going back for more.
We had some extra time before the movie, and parked by the State Capital. The fresh air and walking around gave them a chance to burn off some energy after the long bus ride. We took a walk along the artesian lake and saw the bronzes dedicated to veterans, as well as the wild mustang bronze in memory of the group of state public servants – including Governor George Michelson – who were tragically killed in a plane crash several years ago.
Our legislature is in session, so the capital was open. The representatives were on supper break, so we got to see the house and senate chambers without disturbing any of the action. A third grade girl dreamed that maybe she would have a desk there one day, and I told her she will have my vote when she gets old enough to run.
The movie was a so-so cartoon, “Escape From Planet Earth” but the kids enjoyed it. I didn’t realize theaters carry booster seats, but several of our kids asked for them so they could see better. When it was all finished, we made sure everyone got in line for the bathroom before we began the journey home.