Monday, April 14, 2008

The joy of unexpected excitement
(or: It couldn't have been better if you had planned it.)

~Note before you hear the story: I did not have my camera, which I am kicking myself over today. But some moments just have to live in your memory!~

I was totally dreading all the running around I was going to have to do on Saturday. I had to get Delaney to a math tournament, but then couldn't stay to watch because I had to get McKenna to the downtown public library for a research session for English class. I had to stick around because she might need some help looking for books and making copies (and, besides, who wants to go anywhere extra with the cost of gas these days?). I tried to look on the bright side of things and not regret the sleeping-in I could be having for the first day in Forever, but it wasn't easy.

I was quickly, though, taught a valuable lesson that I already knew was true: Don't get in a negative state of mind, lest you miss the joys coming your way!

When we arrived at the library, we soon realized that some big event was going on. A few quick looks around and we realized that it had to do with the fact that April is To Kill a Mockingbird Month in our county (they are sponsoring the book with sort of a county-wide "book club," encouraging people to read or re-read it and to celebrate the book for its lasting importance). Some of you may already have heard me say how much I love To Kill a Mockingbird; it is my favorite book of all time, is Gary's first or second favorite, and all the girls (well, except Sydney! lol) have read it. The book is beautifully written, has some of the most beautifully crafted characters ever; and, most importantly, teaches the most life-affirming lessons. We also love the movie and have watched it more times than we can count! (We all get goosebumps just talking about the scene where Gregory Peck's Atticus walks out of the courtroom and Scout is instructed to, "Jean Louise, stand up. Your daddy's passin'." She realizes, then, what a man-among-men her father is.) And, if you didn't doubt our love for it, we seriously considered naming Sydney "Scout" after the book's amazing main character; although we didn't name her it, though, we still call her Scout a lot of the time!

I walk over to one of the tables displaying brochures and bookmarks and such and tell the man standing there, "This is my little Scout." He smiles and tells us that the "real" Scout will be here soon. Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout in the movie when she was 10-years-old, would be doing a lecture at the library about her experiences in the movie. I began beating myself for not knowing all of this was going on; I would have so been on the first row to hear her!

Then, from the door came the prettiest lady who looked JUST like Scout from the movie (even though she now is probably 55 to 60-years-old). She stopped to talk to a few people, then walked right over to Sydney and kneeled down beside her. I told her that she is "our Scout," and she said to her: "Well, hello Scout. I'm also named Scout," and then went on to compliment her on her pretty dress (she was wearing her favorite red-and-black dress with crinoline under it... yes, my Scout has to wear a Sunday dress just for a trip to the library!), telling her that she had a dress almost just like it when she was little.

Sydney thought she was just a nice, friendly lady and surely couldn't understand why I was so gah-gah over her (McKenna was also sorta entertained by it all too!). I chatted with her for a few moments, but then she was on her way!

Needless to was an absolute THRILL and I'm still all a-twitter just thinking about it. (It's also made me go dig out one of my three copies of To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm reading it again this week, and challenge you all to read it again or read it for the first time if you never have! And dig out the movie too; it's unbelievably good!).

And the rest of the day? Fantastically put in perspective! I must have read 30 books to Sydney while McKenna did her research, and what a wonderful (unexpected!) time it was!

And a few other highlights from the weekend...

McKenna and her friend, Cassie, performed as The Andrews Sister (minus one!) at a "USO Show" at our church. I wasn't able to be there (had to take Delaney to softball stuff!), but they were apparently the HIT of the show!! They choreographed the cutest routine to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and I got rave reviews about it on Sunday. I hated that I wasn't there to get "real" pictures, but I did have them pose for me afterwards.

Delaney did GREAT at the county-wide Middle School Math Tournament. I was so proud of our school's team; we won first place in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. In sixth grade (Delaney's grade), we won four of the top 5 individual spots (we let a girl from another school place 3rd! lol); Delaney placed 5th out of all the sixth graders competing. SO proud!

And then, on Sunday, we got to see our brand new cousin (actually second cousin) and niece (actually, great niece, but I'm not quite comfortable with calling myself a Great Aunt; lol). Gary's sister's stepdaughter (did that make sense?) had the most adorable baby girl and we got to see her as soon as she came home.

This is sweet little Kelsey LeeAnn. She was 7 pounds and is just absolutely beautiful (I never had such a tiny baby....mine were 8"13', 8"14', and 9"9', so I'm always amazed by the delicacy of other babies). And they smell oh-so-sweet...

Just beautiful, isn't she?

I hope you all had wonderful weekends as well.

Take the time today to appreciate the day for what it is...and to look for the opportunities, and joys, within it! (You just might be surprised!)


Patti said...

I love that book too and have read it countless times. Can you believe I have never seen the movie? Must get on that! So glad you had a wonderful experience!
I commented on her on Gary's blog but the baby is darlin'!

Ms.L said...

What a wonderful fabulous surprise!

Your words of wisdom are so true:)

That sweet Bean is adorable. I just want to reach into my screen and cradle her in my arms..*sigh*

Susie Q said...

That is one of my favorite books of all times AND films. What a delicious surprise...and shame on you for not having that camera stapled to your arm! *laugh* What a sweet experience. I envy you that! : )

What a precious baby face!! Aren't they the best?

Oh, your little angel selling lemonade was my smile maker for the day!!

Love the poetry too...I am a sap for it!!


Leah said...

I haven't read that book in a LONG time. I have a copy of it somewhere. I think I may try to find it. Of all the books I "had" to read in High School, this was the ONE book that didn't feel like work. Love it!

hippochick said...

OMIGOSH!! I can't choose between TKAM and Little Women. They are my top two books. When I read TKAM, I pictured Atticus Finch and Gregory Peck is him exactly. Isn't it a shame that she never wrote another book? What an exciting time for you.

What a precious baby. I have no grandchildren, but great nieces and nephews and I love them all to pieces.

Have a really wonderful day and week. Congrats to Delaney and Mckenna too.


PS - When I finish the news Lisa Scottoline book I'm reading, I'm going to dig out TKAM and read it again. I think it's my Paige's favorite too.

Adrienne said...

I love that book!!! Oh my....I just had baby fever for a second!!!

Gin said...

That is usch a great story, Cheryl. I love that book too. (Dont you think everyone does?) And that baby. aahhhhhh

My Sweethearts said...

Of course you know I love To Kill a Mockingbird (considering I actually did name my daughter Scout). What a neat story. Talk about being at the right place at the right time. How cool!

Cheryl Wray said...

Patti--Okay, run don't walk to the nearest video store (or better yet, buy it instead of rent it!).

Ms L--Babies are just too sweet, aren't they?

Sue--I know, I know. Shame on me! i can't believe I didn't have my camera (because I pretty much carry it with me ALL the time!). Glad you loved the lemonade story. It kinda make me melt too!

Leah--I agree, it was one of the best of the "required readings."

Hippo--yay!! Join in the reading of TKAM with me!!!

Adrienne--I know! Gary held that baby and i thought, "Oh no!" He's a sap for babies!

Gin--I do think that it is one the favorite books for so many people!

Ms--I knew YOU'd appreciate that story, since you have your own Scout. :-)

rhonda said...

oh what a great moment!
I totally forgot that she was going to be here this weekend...but we were in Athens playing ball!

Lisa Elliott said...

Cheryl - I have to tell you that I used your poem about being 12 in my sunday school lesson yesterday. We were talking about spiritual maturity - how we all have childish, adolescent and mature choices each and every day. Your poem (and I gave you credit!) was a perfect add in to describe how an adolescent thinks. I, too, always have my camera and didn't this weekend. We were in Auburn (sorry - I know you are an Alabama fan) but that is where our twins are in school. We were at a baseball game and Aubie (team mascot) came and sat in my lap and gave me a kiss - no camera!!! I know that is not on the same scale as "Scout" but it was pretty darn exciting and it will have to live in my memory also. Thank you for always sharing your family and your joy of life with us!

Mississippi Songbird said...

That is so wonderful! Don't you love unexpected surprises?and the pictures of your girls and the baby are so sweet. So glad you have a good weekend!

Michelle said...

Cheryl.... A few summers ago, I decided that Ashley (then 12) needed to read some classics. I rented the movies and then she read the books. To Kill A Mockingbird is still her very favorite.

BTW Cheryl, I am sorry.

I tagged you on my blog dear. Go see what I got you into.

Josie said...

what a great surprise.
i just remember totally dreading having to read that book in junior high and then totally falling in love with it.
i love reading your blog and catching up with all your family adventures

Cheryl Wray said...

Rhonda--It WAS a great moment. Oh, how did ball go? I will go have to check your blog for any updates.

Lisa--I am blown away by your sweetness. I'm SO glad that you were able to use my poem in your SS class. So very cool of you to do so!! (And, yep, I'm a Bama gal...but I can still appreciate the coolness of your moment! :-)

Songbird--Yes, surprises are wonderful!!!

Michelle--LOL I really don't mind being tagged, I promise! Heading off to check it out!!

Josie--It is such a good book. Thanks for stopping by!!

rhonda said...

hey...are y'all coming to the bama v team usa game tomorrow @ libery park? I'm helping...the vipers are working the parking lot/taking up tickets/doing security, etc.
If you come, look for me---Abbey will have her team sweatshirt on...she is #6.

Lynilu said...

What a great weekend, but especially the library events!! Oh, my! I hope your Scout will remember the nice lady when she grows up! Very, very cool!

Maria said...

OMG! What a FANTASTIC surprise meeting Mary Badham! Wow! I would have been as giddy and excited as you certainly sound! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that book! It is one of my favorite books, and movies, of all time! Little Scout was superb in her character I always thought. I will definetely read it again this weekend in honor of your post! I have probably read it at least five times! :D

Kathy said...

WOW! Your to-do list exhausts me! LOL!

What a wonderful surprise waiting for you at the library.

I have never read To Kill a Mockingbird. I will have to check it out from our library.

It's true, we all need to try not to be negative when things aren't going the way we expect. (I am really BAD about doing this!)

Sometimes the best times we have, happen when we least expect it.

Katrin said...

What an adorable baby!!

Kimberly said...

Oh sounds like you had a real good time. Glad u got to meet her and I might just have to read that book now. Have a super week!

Auburn Kat said...

You are too cute!