Art in the Park

A rainstorm yesterday reminded me of when Molly’s school had “Art in the Park”, a fun event showcasing students’ artwork. Molly was excited, as her class would be singing a song and she’d been practicing for weeks. Unfortunately, the school held the event outdoors in May, an unreliable month. The weather changes on a dime, and you can never be prepared enough. Molly would go to school in shorts and sandals, only for the sky to darken and temperatures to plummet. Would it snow? Would it be sunny? Why not both? I told Molly to bring some warm clothes in her backpack, just in case. Her teacher called to tell me that Molly’s outfit changes were disrupting class. “Warm clothes” to my daughter meant pink tutus, fairy wings, and plastic jewelry! What can I say? She’s got my sense of style!

The weather on the appointed day was deceptively clear. The sky was blue, and the sun was shining. The event started at two; at noon, rain clouds galloped across the sky. Thirty minutes later, the heavens opened and unleashed fury. At one o’clock, the streets were flooded. I called the school and asked if the event had been postponed.

“Well, the weather report says it should clear up around two,” the secretary replied. “It’s still on, at this point.”

“Hopefully the artwork is inside?” I queried.

“The art is covered in plastic,” she replied, “I mean…… most of it is.”

With nothing left to do but wait, I wondered if I had a scuba suit to wear. Amazingly, as the minutes passed, the rainfall lessened and slowed until…… it stopped. I couldn’t believe it; the rain didn’t even stop on my wedding day! Hustling out the door with Andy, we swam out to the van and made it to Molly’s school.

Puddles speckled the soccer field as we headed to the outdoor classroom. Wobbly clay vases and misshapen dreamcatchers were crammed under a canopy (the secretary was right: most of the artwork survived!) Andy and I found a dry patch of dirt, and Molly’s class meandered to the stage. My heart swelled as they sang a song about friendship, complete with hand gestures! They were wildly out of tune and some kids wandered offstage, but it was a great performance. They howled the final chorus at full volume after the teacher motioned for them to be louder. Hey, at least they follow directions!

Mud puddles and all, the event was a success. I was so proud of Molly and her classmates. Seeing the kids’ hard work come to fruition was great, and they deserved the praise they received. However, unless the art was supposed to imitate Rorschach tests, next year’s event should be in June – it might be drier then!