Short Wednesdays Bring Mobs Of Kids To Bounce On Trampoline For Hours

Hill Country Living
By Coulter Fussell

It’s early fall around here and so the hurricanes keep showing up in North Mississippi like stragglers at the end of a party. Except it was their own party and they left it and came knocking on our door at 2 a.m. We always get the tired, leftover hurricane weather; the hurricane weather that just needs to go to bed.
This is better than what they initially offer down at the coast, so I’m not complaining! But it’s not enough havoc for us to close up shop and settle in. It’s just immensely inconvenient.
I know some of y’all are thinking, “How can this woman complain about a bad rain storm when people on the coast have lost property or worse from this storm?!”
Well, I retort, have you ever taught a two-hour natural dye class that involves foraging in the woods to 25 local 4-H’ers, ages 6 – 13, during the height of Hurricane Delta? What’s that? No? You haven’t?
I rest my case.
My kids very recently joined the new Water Valley 4-H Club and they’ve been having a good ol’ time. Pamela Redwine from the MSU Extension Service hooks the kids up each month with a recipe and the time my oldest kid made granola bars in tandem with his friend via Zoom was eye opening. I realized the extent of kitchen ineptness among the 13-year old boy population of Water Valley and it was borderline disturbing. What I’m saying is, how have more houses not burned down? Specifically, mine?
The kids have been ruling town lately. School is rolling along safely without pandemic upset, so kids are venturing out en masse, and with great fervor, after months of quarantine. I’m happy for them! There’s a roving gang of children on bikes who’ve burned a path all up and down Main Street for months. They’ve drunk more milkshakes and eaten more ice cream cones than should be morally allowed. There are cows out there working overtime just to supply the dairy needs of Water Valley’s children.
The bike path doesn’t just flow along Main Street. At Turnage’s it takes a sharp divergence up Wood Street and stops at the trampoline in my backyard…10 feet from my living room window; a thousand kid-pitched screaming voices — the squeak of the trampoline springs so constant that you hear it still squeaking in your head when you lay down to bed at night.
I’m typically fine with this because I’m thankful for a yard and trampoline and healthy kids who want to be around their house, but the school’s newly implemented “Short Wednesday” is cramping my style. For some reason, my backyard has morphed into a po-dunk Coachella for small-town school kids on Short Wednesday. Last week this lasted from 12:15 p.m. to 7 p.m.! More than once on Short Wednesdays I have yelled out my back door to various groups of children numbering in the double digits, “How can y’all still be here?! I have a job!!” I guess that’s what teachers probably feel like yelling everyday at work.
I’m glad the teachers have been given extra time to do their already next-to-impossible job. We’ve asked too much of them during this pandemic and Short Wednesday is the least we can do. But if anyone sees smoke coming from my house, I can’t tell you if it’s a fog machine at the trampoline party or if it’s a kid burning a 4-H recipe but I can tell you it’s definitely Wednesday.

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