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January 23, 2011

'Having a Bad Day'

Special thanks to J.R. Johnson for his illustration. To see more of his work, visit

January 23, 2011|By Patricia Rust
  • "Having a Bad Day"
"Having a Bad Day" (J. R. Johnson )

I'm sure glad I don't live in the grown up world, thought Savannah, as she trudged to the bus stop. It was only Tuesday but it felt like Monday all over again. Savannah had already dropped her books all over the place, and when she went to dive for them couldn't get up. That's how slippery her winter parka was. Before that, she had missed breakfast. And before that, she found her homework eaten by the family's dog Nani. Of course, Nani was just being a big puppy. But how had she reached Savannah's home work? It was anybody's guess, because Savannah thought she had stuffed her homework into her back pack.

While concentrating on all these morning catastrophes, Savannah almost missed the bus on top of everything else! Thank heavens one of her school chums hollered for the driver to wait. Yeah, maybe the day had turned the corner and good things were beginning to happen. Because missing the school bus meant a very long walk to school. The temperatures had dropped. Southern California kids don't do well with cold windy days unless they are up in the mountains playing with snowballs where they can forget the cold and just have fun in it!

"There's an idea," thought Savannah. Just like in the cartoons, a light bulb went off over Savannah's head.

When class began, her hand shot up like a bamboo shoot. "Mrs. Hamph, would it be possible for our class to take a field trip to the snow?"

"Why, what gave you that idea?" questioned Mrs. Hamph.

The excitement in the classroom started to sizzle. The kids all clapped and cheered for the idea.Even the hamsters became excited and turned on the wheels in the cages a little faster.

"It's a long story, but I think that it's a win/win for everybody," answered Savannah. This is something she had heard her father say when he wanted to get his way.

"Our budget cutbacks don't allow for much of anything any more," said Mrs. Hamph.

All the kids sighed.

Ben, Savannah's friend whispered in her ear.

"Ben, it's not polite to whisper," corrected his teacher.

"We didn't want to get our hopes up in case it didn't work out – but what if we hitch a ride with a truck already going up to the snow– like a food truck or a daily truck or horse trucks…?" offered Savannah.

Now Mrs. Hamph is the kind of third grade teacher you wish you could have every semester the rest of your life.

"Hmmm," she said, "That might be worth exploring!"

So, that Tuesday, which had started off so dismal, became a great challenge. How would the kids get up to the mountains?

Savannah's brother, Rusty, came up with a truly great idea: Ride with with parents and siblings to visit less fortunate kids. That way they could spend some time in the snow without it being a strain on the school system. Sure enough, The Boys and Girls Club was only too happy to have their help to do just that!

"Now that's a win/win for all!" Most especially, for all the kids. No one would care if they fell on their backs in their ski parkas, because there was plenty of room for laughter at themselves!

Patricia Rust is the an Emmy Award-winning writer and author of "The King of Skittledeedoo," now in its third printing (see To learn more about the author, please visit

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