Four T-shirt Summer

Four T-shirt Summer

                 I laid in corpse pose on my living room floor, feeling my breath cycle through my prone body. My morning yoga had loosened up my back, sore from the various beds I slept in during my four t-shirt summer.

                First t-shirt came with Summer Splash. For the uninitiated, that’s a week each summer when 1000 or so elementary students converge on our church for bible stories, water games, snacks, and crafts. Adults use the excuse to “volunteer” as a reason to dress up as pirates and drench children with water. This year I directed the play I wrote, stepping down from the stage to become an outsider. Of course, I wore a pirate costume. I was the proud parent in the audience taking pictures instead of delivering purposeful lines on stage. Exciting but sad.

                Following that week, Frank and I retreated to Yosemite to see the real Artist’s work. After hiking to see waterfalls in the cooler mornings, we survived the heat by sitting in the Merced River, allowing the clear cold water to carry away our tiredness. I watched the waves of trees roll by with moist eyes, listening to David Crowder music as we drove home.

                Second t-shirt- The Rebellion, high school church camp in the mountains. Feeling akin to the freshman girls in my cabin. Cultural plunge. No sleep. Many tears. Special friends. Happy to get home.

                Third t-shirt- Mexico mission trip with the high school group. More focused, more realistic expectations made this trip enjoyable. Finally I was able to connect with my team and learn how to be a leader. The landscape at El Nino looked like a Mad Max movie- desolate, waterless, trash-filled, and ruined. No color except grey mud and spray painted graffiti. Instead people provided the color-with smiles, music, and great food. Heartbreak and anger against a government that keeps its citizens in chains of poverty. Three hours waiting in line, buying churros and singing with the radio. Outside the van window goes from grey to green grass and trees. We’re back in the United States.

                Fourth t-shirt- San Diego. After Mexico, Frank and I escaped to Oceanside. Tried to find my saturation point with going to the beach. Conclusion- never want to go back to the desert. After taking the train down to San Diego, we ended up in the Harley gift shop. Now that we own a Road King, we can permit ourselves to buy official apparel, which we do with enthusiasm.

                Now back in Riverside, the desert heat wrapped around me as we attempt sleep in our almost cool bedroom. Missing the gentle nights at the beach where the breeze tickles you to sleep and wakes you gently to misty mornings.

                Time to go back to school, so I take my t-shirts and fold them into my drawer until needed. I take out my Pachappa Elementary School t-shirt. Now it is time to teach students how to take pride in their work, accept others, feel compassion, become teams, and find fun every day.

                Until next summer.

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About jrizzotto0808

I'm a writer of fantasy tales and travel stories. My work in progress, The College of the Crones, recently won an Honorable Mention Award at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Southern California Spring Retreat. I am the editor of The Handlebar Star, on online publication of the Inland Empire Branch of the Harley Owners Group. My teaching career supports my addictions to camping and riding with my husband on our Harley, named The Black Pearl. I'm also the Vice President and Membership Chair of the Inland Empire Branch of the California Writers Club, where I can find people who understand me.
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