Monday, June 25, 2007

Poetry, Amish and Police Camp

My Sunday started with trying to determine which medical acronym stood for "Tetanus Shot" on Oldest Son's Boys Scout medical form from 4 years ago. I had it down to DTP/DT 1 through 5, DTP/DTaP or Td. I was leaning towards DTP/DTaP but the date on that was 1995 which was more than 10 years ago. This would be bad since tetanus shots are good for 10 years.

I was doing this because I could not find the most recent form which I knew I had for his Boy Scout summer camp in 2006. Today he was going to a one week writers workshop held at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA and they wanted to know if he had a tetanus shot.

I don't know why they wanted this information. I can't imagine that writing poetry increases one's affinity for lock-jaw, but as a dutiful parent, here I was on a Sunday morning researching when his last tetanus shot was so he could read and write poetry beneath shady trees.

This is the kind of thing that happens all time at our house: a last minute crisis for camp, scouts, band or school. It could be a water bottle for soccer, a check for a school trip or medical records. It doesn't matter.

In the end, I guessed. I know he had a shot, I just didn't have an exact date. If he happens to step on a rusty nail while writing poetry, I'm sure he'll be OK until we pick him up on Saturday. You learn what is important as you get experience being a parent.

The University is almost in the exact geographical center of Pennsylvania and we were surprised to see Amish out that way. I guess I never thought about the Amish being that far north but why wouldn't they be there? I guess I just assumed they were in a narrow swath from Lancaster to Harrisburg. Heck, they could reach all the way to Canada for all I know. Half the population of Buffalo might be Amish since I've never been there to check. Albany too.

As we were driving home I saw this same Amish couple headed south on route 11 on the shoulder of the highway. A few miles down the road we saw another Amish couple headed north on the same shoulder. It was like you knew an Amish head-on was coming and there was nothing you could do about it.

He is in a class of 12 writing poetry. When we left to say goodbye they were all sitting under a shady tree reading poetry out loud. The kid that was reciting his own poem had a def poetry jam thing going about smoking pot. It turns out this was Oldest Son's roommate, rapping about pot among the Amish.

This is another aspect of parenting that I did not expect - what the boys interests would be. I never saw poetry coming. It's not like we all sat around the table when they were younger reading Emily Dickinson every night. Where did he develop a mind for poetry?

Since all the regular students went back home in May, the campus is empty except for the Amish. There are the 48 high schools students in the whole workshop and the only other group on campus is a Pennsylvania State Police "camp cadet".

Two groups on campus - the writers and the cadets. The cadets march into the cafeteria and march about campus while my son and his "workshop" sit beneath trees and read poetry. Throw in a demonstration about a war and some guns and sounds like Kent State all over again.

So we'll pick him up on Saturday from his workshop and then we turn around and head off to Ocean City for a week. I'll bet he just has a great time.

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