In yesterday’s blog I mentioned the world of make believe. In the midst of senior adulthood, sometimes my imagination falls a little short. The General has a little more confidence that if you follow the recipe or written instructions that things have a way of working out. Of course, she’s the person who invested hours and hours of time orchestrating all of the suggestions related to the Vacation Bible School curriculum: “MAKER FUN FACTORY – Created By God – Built For A Purpose”. What’s true for the General is also true of the other folks who provide places of leadership in VBS. In addition, the time spent in decorating for the event is beyond what you’d even begin to imagine.
I guess all it takes is a little creativity and you can play pretend or utilize almost anything to serve purposes other than those for which they are intended. Take for example: “4 inch PVC pipe cut at a specified length, 4 inch PVC elbows and more 4 inch pipe”. Like I said, “The General knows how to read a recipe or follow a set of instructions”. Trust me, impromptu isn’t part of her regime. She follows the instructions precisely.
So how did she know the folks at Home Depot would cut PVC pipe the lengths she needed? She hauled me into town with her and I thought to myself: “You’ve got to be kidding me?” I even think the man working the plumbing aisle at the hardware store was initially a bit startled when she told him what she needed.
The General explained that she was working on a project for Vacation Bible School and that she needed the PVC pipe configuration for a Vacation Bible School project. All it took was mentioning church and kids and the man’s countenance softened and he proved to be extremely patient and kind. Actually, he was amazingly patient and kind.
Frankly, I was standing in the background keeping my skeptical thoughts to myself. Maybe it was a lack of creativity on my part, but I thought back across many years to my childhood. I attended VBS every summer and I couldn’t remember ever seeing anything made out of PVC pipe. Of course, there is an easy explanation for that. Places like Home Depot didn’t exist where folks who have no frame of reference to plumbing needs or materials could walk down an aisle and see them. Secondly, I think copper piping was thought preferential over PVC piping. I don’t really know. All of that is an element outside my frame of reference.
Okay, so once the kind and patient man at Home Depot cut the PVC to the desired lengths, the next order of business was picking out different colors of paint in spray cans. The General even carefully looked at the pricing of a couple of different brands. She didn’t want to spend too much. So when has that ever been a factor? Did I mention that I was the man at Home Depot who wasn’t patient and kind?
Of course, according to the recipe she was following, the General needed four different colors for several different projects. Don’t get me wrong. She followed the recipe to the letter. The General never colors outside the lines. She bought four different colors and with a sense of pride she took the time to paint each PVC piece over a period of several days. Trust me, when it comes to time, no one has any idea how much time the adults who seriously work with VBS invest in getting ready. Under the concept of transparency, I was NOT one of the adults who made that investment. In addition, I now feel like a jerk because I didn’t’ offer to help. After all, I like kids. Perhaps my creativity and imagination is more limited than I’d like to believe. I was the subtly (or maybe not subtly) the cranky old man who thought you don’t need any of that for VBS. Did I mention that I’ve been wrong before?
I guess you have to see it to believe it. Actually, you have to both see it and hear it to know that it really works. Maybe I should have said: “How it really works?” Mr. Tom – the Nutty Professor and his young capable assistant – Kade, provided the finishing touches. Apparently, Kade knew how to follow the instructions he had been given. He assembled the red, yellow and blue piping. He then held the piping in place while the Nutty Professor wrapped a bungee chord tie-down around the tubing. Or maybe it was the other way around, I don’t really remember.
At any rate, Kade – the kid with rhythm – stole the show. He picked up a couple of rubber thong sandals and the PVC configuration became an upscale set of bongo drums. The variation of sound had a relationship to which end of the piping you struck with the rubber thongs.
It was an Aha moment for me. It was the sound of music being played on the makeshift bongo drums that put a smile on my face and I had the thought: “What a good idea! Who would have thought?” In addition, Kade was in his element. Trust me, the kid has rhythm and he is very entertaining. At the same time, the same could be said of the Nutty Professor.
Of course, God is the author of creation and he created us in his own image. Consequently, we too have the gift of creativity unless we choose to be a cranky old man who initially thinks it is all a lot of nonsense.
Actually, in the course of the evening, I learned some other things I didn’t know. For example, did you know that the length of your foot is exactly the length of your arm from the inside bend in your elbow to the beginning of your hand. Of course, if you’re my age you’re not going to easily be able to figure that out on yourself. I’m simply not that limber.
In addition, did you know that your height is the same length as the end of your hands if you hold your arms out straight across in a horizontal line from your shoulders? I didn’t know it, but I saw it proved last night.
There was only one glitch in last night’s activity, and according to the General, it was an added touch that one of the leaders threw in as an expression of her own creativity. If sprinkles add to the ambience and taste of cup cakes and ice cream, a slight sprinkle of glitter could add that extra dimension of sparkle to any child’s appearance.
Okay, even though it was a very slight touch, it was a little messy. The cranky old man with OCD thought it was unnecessary. After all, some of the glitter got on the floor. I was also concerned that what didn’t get on the floor would end up inside my truck. In addition, Jake got glitter in his eyes. He was attempting to camouflage that he was crying, but even a cranky old man like me could discern something was wrong. Once we successfully resolved the issue, I told Jake that his eyes sparkle even without the glitter. He smiled. We all had a good time at VBS – even the cranky old man.
All My Best!