Sunday, December 19, 2010

Standing on one leg, wobbling slightly, to accompanying bagpipes

The next day after the funeral was the end of year school assembly. I am prone to silent tears at various inappropriate times, and as we walked in a grade five girl was playing the piano so beautifully I was struggling for composure. All it takes is 20 kids finishing their primary school years, and some well chosen minor chords, and I am like a limp rag.

If you have ever sat through something like a final assembly you'll know they go on forever and always feature a) endearingly bad trumpet playing, b) Scottish country dancing and c) a Village People song reworded to mention everyone in the graduating class. This is true everywhere from Utah to Uganda. Fortunately this one was a daytime thing, so the spectacle of tired dads asleep with their mouths open, drooling, was averted. Just.

We knew we had one thing to look forward to at least. We were forewarned that Marcus had won a medal in one of the maths competitions. We don't know how many medals are given out, whether this means he topped the state in Middle Primary or what, but the principal said in his speech that it was the only one he had ever seen awarded in 30 years. Marcus was bursting with pride and we were too - it was good. He got a tiny medal, a certificate, and a book voucher - entitling him to any of the books published by the Australian Mathematics Trust (sample title: Chinese Mathematics Competitions 1981-1993)

I must mention again the Scottish Country Dancing. One finishing grade 6 girl is the daughter of the SCD's valiant matriarch. The bonny lass had choreographed a special graduating dance of excruciating slowness. It was like watching someone riding a bike too slow - someone had to fall over soon. Just as the tension was becoming unbearable, they sped up. Elf and I compared notes later and we had both looked out the window because we just couldn't bear to watch.

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