Friday, May 07, 2010

My buddy Dave and I took about 15 of our Seniors to Austin on a field trip Wednesday.

We both teach down at Florence, and while I get to leave after about two and a half hours, he has to stay all day. He's much more experienced with things like field trips, being a full fledged high school teacher and all. I just pass through. Teach my college classes and jet out of there, headed for San Saba.

So when the kids told us they wanted us to take them on a field trip to Austin (the kids thinking 6th street), Dave (Willingham) said it would be cool. He does this sort of thing all the time. He took charge and set the whole thing up. I started feelin' guilty about that, bein' a slug, so one day last week I picked him up a big bag of San Saba pecans. He's happy.

The trip started at about 8:30 AM Wednesday, when the bus showed up and we all boarded it.

Fifteen senior kids showed up, out of eighteen that are taking my dual credit government classes. Willingham has most of these kids in his classes too. They're mostly good kids, but I was fully expecting someone to be bleeding by mid day.

Our first stop in Austin was at a little stop-n-rob on the UT campus. I stayed there with the kids while Willingham located our first attraction of the day. I started taking pictures there, trying to get some good shots for the school annual. The lady who is running the program to create the annual asked me to take pictures... As if I wouldn't be doing that already. She's never seen the blog.

Up the street and a few blocks from the stop-n-rob, we had a guided tour of the Harry Ransom Center. It's a cool little place that collects all sorts of artistic and cultural artifacts, storing them, displaying them and preserving them. They split us up into two groups and gave us guided tours through the stuff they have on display. Before we got going, the guide said "no pictures", so all I got there was this shot of the kids coming out after the tour. But it was a really cool place.

They had an original Gutenberg Bible there, which shocked the shit out of me. Then the guide showed us the very first photograph ever taken. The kids thought that was cooler than the bible. The guide then walked us through a series of displays covering all the different aspects of film making. They have a huge variety of artifacts, including a massive collection of memorabilia donated by Robert De Nero. they have the jackets he wore in movies like Ronin, Taxi Driver, and Casino. They even have the makeup model/life mask from his role in Frankenstein. They also have a dress worn by Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind. It was cool to see all that stuff.

After that, it was on to the state capitol. Again, we had time to kill before the tour, so I took the kids around the front of the building and showed them many of the monuments.

My favorite monument is the one to Terry's Rangers, who fought for the South during the Civil War. At one point, one of the kids came up to me and asked if I was glad that the South lost that war. I said "Yes, of course." He said that he was too, but then said that sometimes he felt like a traitor to the state, thinkin' hat way. I told him that those sorts of thoughts are a natural consequence of being a modern southerner. We can dislike the Yankees and hate the South's cause, all at the same time. He thought that was cool.

As the tour began, we wound our way up to the Senate chambers, where the kids got a good look at some very famous paintings that hang in the room.

Here's a detail from the one above. It depicts the chaos of the Battle of San Jacinto, where Texas won it's freedom from Mexico.

After the capitol tour, we took the kids to the Schlotzky's, on Guadalupe. I hadn't been to one of these places in a long time. Here's the menu. I tried the Roasted Chipotle Chicken Sandwich, and the Asian Chicken Wrap. The wrap was better.

After eating, it was off to the Natural History museum, which turned out to be the most popular tour on the trip. It was also the place where my fears of bloodshed, I feared, were going to be realized.

This boy's a monkey. He was up there before anyone realized it. We all just stood there in wonder. Imagine, having the ability to run up a tree like you used to 40 years ago. I had a flashback from about 1970, Missouri. In time, he came down safely. Really, I was more worried about the tree.

Walking into the museum, I was struck by the massive skeleton of a flying reptile, the display covering half the ceiling. I'd never seen one so huge.

We only had thirty minutes to tour the place, which was a real shame. It turned out that we only had time to view the artifacts in the basement, which took the viewer from the beginning of time through the late Ice Age.

That's the Great, Fat, Hairy, North American Sasquatch, standing next to the lower leg bone of a Sauropod Dinosaur. And I always thought they were big critters. Hm, not so big.

Anyway, when the bell tolled, around 2:40 PM, we boarded the bus for the drive back up to Florence. We got back to the campus by 3:45, and I spent the rest of the day at home, workin' on these pictures. Go to the FlickR site and check out the rest of them. Some turned out pretty good.

Willingham and I turned out to be a great team. I hope we get to do this again, but next time I'll play a more active role in the planning and execution. I still feel bad about tossing it all on his shoulders.

Anyway, today I'll be heading over to the Expo Center in Belton to take part in the annual CTC Graduation Ceremony. I'll be wearing the cap and gown, and sitting with the rest of the faculty. It'll be fun. I'll take some pictures, so you'll get to see me in all my fuferaw.

Y'all be good, and we'll talk after. Cheers.


BRUNO said...

At least you weren't wearin' those damned-patchwork shorts you "threatened"-us with in the previous post!

Damn kids. Know everything, yet still have much more to learn.

I remember being like that once---before all the ADULTS finally grew-up to see things MY way!

(That's a bass-ackwards, somewhat altered, quote from Mark Twain, of course...!)

Sarge Charlie said...

wishing a happy mothers day for all the mothers in fhb's life.