It was finally Tuesday. I couldn’t wait. Every student in my school awaits today with anticipation and excitement. It was like a coming of age or changing of the guards. It was the annual field trip to the Ballet downtown, and not just any ballet but the big fancy one at the big fancy theater. You were required to dress up and be on your best behavior. I had been waiting for this forever. I smoothed my dress and gave myself a mental thumbs up. I looked the part of the responsible and mature 3rd grader in my favorite blue dress, my white shoes with the little heel and the blue barrette that went perfectly. My mom got it for me especially for today. She knew how important today was for me. She was going to be a chaperone for the field trip which was fantastic. Today was going to be great.
I bounded down the stairs and was met by my big brother and dad. They were eating breakfast already. I looked around but there was no mom.
“Where is mom, I asked nervously.”
“She was called into work for an emergency. She left you a note sweetie. And don’t worry, your dear old dad is going to your field trip,” my dad told me with a grin.
Now don’t get my wrong here. My dad is great. He is funny, and nice and everyone loves him, but he is a dad. He does stuff all “daddish”. He is not very fancy at all. To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I think my dad could see the disappointment in my face because he reassured me that we would still have fun at the field trip. And that was the problem. This field trip was not about having fun. It was about being fancy and elegant. My dad was neither of these things.
“Well you know this field trip is fancy right?” I asked him. I just wanted to be sure he knew what he was getting into.
“Of course, I know silly. Look, I am wearing my best tie and I have my good old sport coat right here. Don’t worry, it will be fine,” he said trying to assure me. I was not assured at all. At least he was not wearing one of his Cubs shirts though.
And then it happened. We were getting ready to leave and I saw it…. “The Loaf.” My dad has this thing he does when we are going places, like the beach or the pool. He takes a loaf of bread, makes sandwiches with the whole loaf and then puts it back in the bread bag. He calls it “The Loaf”. Whenever he makes it my mom rolls her eyes, but I know she thinks it is cute because while she is rolling her eyes, the corner of her mouth is in this little smile. She does this a lot with the goofy stuff my dad does. But today was not the day for “The Loaf.”
“Dad, No. You can not bring “The Loaf” to the theater. That is no fancy at all. I mean really”, I said with annoyance in my voice. I knew the other kids were going to have sandwiches with the crusts cut off and those fancy sandwich Tupperware containers. This was no time for “The Loaf.”
My dad assured me it was fine. He put it in his backpack and said something about sharing and what if someone forgets their sandwiches and how he is always prepared. I was cringing on the inside and was about to argue some more, but we were running late so he shushed me out the door and into the car. I figured I would not eat lunch. I would say I was not hungry. This way “The Loaf” would not have to come out of his backpack. I said a little prayer in my head as we pulled out of the driveway.
At school everyone was really excited. My teacher, Miss Smith, was counting and organizing. She was a nice teacher. I really liked her, but she was on the serious side. She was not really the type of teacher to laugh or crack up. She asked everyone to put their lunches in a box in the front of the room. I quietly sat there and watched as my class mates put their lunch boxes, filled with fancy lunches, in the box. Miss Smith was too busy to realize that I did not have a lunch, thank goodness. So far so good. I glanced at my dad who was talking with another dad in the back of the room. He saw me looking at him and gave me a little wink. I gave him a smile back. No sign of the “The Loaf” thank goodness. I was safe for now.
We pulled up to the Theater and it was beautiful. Everything was gold and floral. The carpet was this velvet red and the chairs were so comfortable. I sat next to my dad and I was relieved that he did not hoot or holler once even as the curtain went up. The ballet was amazing. It was everything I had imagined. Our class was very well behaved and Miss Smith, although still a little uneasy, seemed to like the show too. When it was over, our class all stood up and clapped and the ballerinas took a final bow. We kept clapping until the last one left the stage. What a wonderful show.
We all filed out of the theater into another room. I was having so much fun, that I forgot all about lunch. This room was the lunch room. I started to panic. “Be cool”, I told myself. You just won’t eat, I reminded myself. Miss Smith was standing in front of the room and seemed to be having some sort of problem. She was rifling through bins in the front of the room and talking to herself. She cleared her throat and asked for our attention.
“Excuse me children. Will everyone sit down please. I have some bad news. It seems that I have forgotten all the lunches back at the school.” Miss Smith said.
“Wait, Miss Smith, Miss Smith,” someone was saying from the back of the room. It took me a moment to realize it was my dad. Miss Smith, I brought extra sandwiches and some chips.
I turn around just in time to see my dad reach into his back pack and pull out not one “Loaf” but two. I am going to die. Literally going to die. There is my dad standing in the front of the room now, holding two “Loafs”. He announces that he has peanut butter & jelly and bologna & cheese. I put my face in my hands and realize that my social life at this school is over.
But something miraculous occurs. I look up and Miss Smith is smiling. Miss Smith is actually smiling. I can’t believe it. And then the kids start cheering.
“You saved the day!” Miss Smith says to my dad as she takes “The Loaf” from my dad’s hand. Another teacher walks over and pats my dad on the back. They start passing out the sandwiches and chips. Miss Smith comes over to me and whispers in my ear, “Good thing your dad is so prepared.” She gave me a bologna and cheese sandwich and she smiles right at me. I have to say, the sandwich tastes pretty good especially since I am starving. My dad catches my eye and gives me the Dad wink. I give him a big smile back. I really can’t believe what has occurred. My dad and “The Loaf” saved the day. My mom is never going to believe this!