Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A Pleasant Spring Surprise by Merri Maywether

One day, life was ho-hum, and my biggest concern was my characters weren't getting along.

Fast forward one day. 🌤️

My teaching co-sponsor pulled me in for a chatty chat. This one brought a little surprise. 

Our school had permission to host a limited prom. Meaning only the students from our school would attend. (Our high school has roughly fifty students.) We decided to have a Casino Night event. There would be music, games, some snacks. We’ve had a game night before. It sounded like fun. 

🌤️ 🌤️ 🌤️ I kid you not. Three days later, I was pulled in for another chatty chat. The board decided it was safe to have a full prom.

I had never been to prom. The class we sponsor has six boys and three shy girls. No big deal turned to a big “What are we going to do?” 

Picture ten people on laptops sharing Pinterest Pins. We moved quicker, from one computer to the next, than a cowboy in front of a stampede. What do you think about this? Can we pull off that? Oooh, I wonder if my mom can make these cookies. 

Calls went out to anyone who had a wedding in the past five years. Trips to farms for mason jars, wagon wheels, hay bales, deer antlers, and burlap broke our routine. We were living in controlled chaos and loving every minute of it.

🌤️ In one day: I made a run to Great Falls to purchase the supplies for a country chic swag bag. The class stayed behind to transform our high school gym into an interpretation of “Under the Big Sky.”

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I had to clean my ears and make sure I heard correctly after overhearing the football players discuss how to perfect the placement of stars on a picture frame. My heart burst with pride at the confidence in the shy girls’ voices when they designed the graphics for tickets and key chains. The flurry of activity started a buzz of conversations about tuxedos and gowns.

We pulled off in three weeks what others had done over the course of a school year. It was a night to behold. It was a reset of sorts for all of us. 

For the kids, it blended the past and the future. We were safe and had fun. (I left out the parts about the safety measures because they are dull.) 

For me, it sparked what was burning dimly—my belief in what can happen when a community pulls together. We recreated the experiences I had written about in my novels but none of us had lived since 2019. 

It took me a week to physically recover. The kids had a lot of makeup work. I know I speak for all of us when I add that it was worth it. 

This is where I'll take a break from the story to ask, what can-do activities are you looking forward to doing in the near future?

🌤️ 🌤️ 🌤️

Merri Maywether lives with her husband in rural Montana. You can find her in the town's only coffee house listening to three generations of Montanans share their stories. Otherwise, she's in the classroom or the school library, inspiring the next generation's writers.

🌤️ 🌤️ 🌤️

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