It was one of those glorious balmy days toward the end of the school year. The
entire student body of Eureka
School was going on a field trip to Marlin.
The chamber of commerce invited various schools to take a tour of the city and
it was now our turn. Try to imagine the culture shock we experienced that day
on our trip to new and exotic places in the metropolis to our west. Most of the
students lived in bare unpainted houses with no electricity, gas, or running water.
The anticipation of visiting all the glamorous, modern places of business in our
nearest town of any size was indescribable.
The representative for the
chamber of commerce who conducted the tour was a very sophisticated young live
wire who had done wonders for the city during the struggling days of the depression.
He had conducted some ingenious campaigns to boost sales around town. That day
we were all enthralled by his glib jargon as he described the nuts and bolts operation
of each plant and factory we toured. Among the businesses were a creamery, a bakery,
a water treatment plant, and a cotton compress where they would reduce a bale
from the regular size down to about half for shipping convenience. We strolled
open mouthed through all the places on our agenda and when it was all over we
were in a state of euphoria.
When I got back home and started describing
our wondrous trip to my mother I noticed that she had a strange expression on
her face. Suddenly I realized why. As I left the house that morning my mother
reminded me that my heavy, fleece lined parka was at school and to be sure to
bring it home before it closed for the summer. As we left for the excursion into
Marlin I grabbed my coat from the cloakroom and took it with me. After carrying
it over my arm for a while I found it easier to just put it on and wear it even
though the temperature was in the 80s. That is the way I was attired during the
entire trip. But to make matters worse, I had gone to school barefoot that day.
The combination of the heavy parka and my bare feet must have been a sight to