Gene Kelly would have been proud of my 4th graders. We walked a mile from The San Francisco School to the Jewish Home for the Aged and yes, we were singin’ in the rain. Every step of the way. Gene sloshed through puddles because his heart was overflowing with love for the Debbie Reynolds character, but these kids were just filled with the exuberance of life and hey, why not sing while we walk? Just because.
And then we arrived and sang again, mostly the same songs, but now with me at the piano. Classics from the Great American Songbook: Side by Side; Sunnyside of the Street; When You're Smiling; My Favorite Things; High Hopes; Pick Yourself Up; Pennies from Heaven; Ja Da; Mares Eat Oats; Five Foot Two; Let's Get Away From It All; Chattanooga Choo-choo for starters. Then a few songs from the 1890's, folk songs and such. Some 25 elders so amazed that the kids knew all these songs and all the words to them (without any written lyrics), so delighted to see the kids, to hear them sing, to watch them dance and juggle and do gymnastics and play trumpet, to shake their hand at the end and chat with them across an 80 to 100 year divide.
And then we reluctantly pulled ourselves away and out into a rather heavy rain, with promises of the bus coming in five minutes. Come it did, but too full for us to get on. “Don’t worry, there’s another four minutes behind" said the bus driver. So we waited again, 22 kids huddled under a few umbrellas, many kids bareheaded and soaked through and me determined to be more aggressive getting them on the next bus.
Which might have worked had the bus not PASSED US BY WITHOUT STOPPING! Already late for our school return, no choice but to walk the mile back and no sign of the rain relenting. Resourceful kids grabbed plastic tubs from a curbside recycling bin to use as umbrellas, one desperate boy found a bush to pee behind, the puddles at the intersections were rising higher by the second and kids were practicing their leaps.
But everyone kept their good humor and why not? It’s just rain and wasn’t that singing fine?