After watching the shift in “playtime activities” over the past generation I had begun to lose hope that children remembered how to play using their imaginations rather than video games and other such electronics. Fortunately Hannington and Patrick proved me wrong today. Up here in Washburn, Wisconsin the children had an afternoon to play, while details were being set for the outdoor music event they are performing at tonight. While most of the older boys were playing soccer I glanced over to see Patrick, Hannington, and Christopher lunging in the grass, running a few more steps, and then lunging onto their stomachs again. Upon closer examinations I realized they were catching grasshoppers! Patrick proudly held out the handful he had already captured. I thought of the conversation I had two days ago with Gilbert and Nelson about Americans are missing out because we don't eat grasshoppers, and I cautiously asked Patrick what he planned to do with the grasshoppers. He replied, “I'm going to put them in my pocket!” Well, I talked him out of that and instead the boys found a plastic container and continued their hunt until they proudly came to the aunties to show us at least 30 grasshoppers! After lunch Hanny informed me that one of the grasshoppers had died and they were going to have a funeral and bury it. Half an hour later I wandered over to the edge of the woods to find the boys (along with a few girls who had joined them), just as they were finishing up the grave. They were so proud of it they could hardly wait to show me. Let me just say that no grasshopper in the history of the world has had such an elaborate grave or fine burial. First, they made a pillow of out some cloth they found on the ground and wrapped the grasshopper in two leaves. Then they buried the grasshopper and put sticks and flowers poking up out of the ground. Around the area they used sticks, moss, and other materials to build a giant heart shaped barrier, that looked somewhat like a bird nest. Needless to say I was quite impressed. R.I.P. Grasshopper.
Only ten short minutes after this burial I sat and watched Hannington perform his new solo on stage during sound check. He glowed and his sweet voice echoed across the tent and out into the woods. What a kid! Completely and 100% little boy and yet full of such amazing talent and joy. I love my job.