“I thought about that, and they were right, they did pay their dues, and now they’ll enjoy the rewards. And thinking about rewards, there’s a bed with my name on it calling me. So goodnight, see you at breakfast.”
That bed felt so good that I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
The next morning at breakfast, the kids were still talking about the island and the cruise. But they didn’t know about the surprise for this coming Sunday. Tony had located a circus that was a 3-hour drive from home. We’d have to take all five of the buses. With Murray going, we’d need one more driver and security personnel.
After the kids left to go to school, I sat down with the staff, Murray, and O’Shea. “We need one more driver for next Sunday. I have Aaron, Tony, Murray, and me, so I need one more.”
“You could ask one of the crew. I know they would be glad to help.”
“That’d be great. Now we need security. I guess O’Shea will go with you, Murray. Any chances of getting some of your cohorts at the station to help?”
“I think I can get a few. Might have to take a couple of kids that’ll be attached.”
I knew who he was referring to, “That’s ok. If you’re talking about whom I think you are, they’d be very welcome.”
“I’ll check later today. I wonder what the circus people are going to think with over 300 kids attending.”
“They’ll love it, believe it or not, but we’ll have a complete section all to ourselves. They are setting up a special area for us.”
“That sounds great, Tony. We can tell the kids on Saturday. If we tell them sooner, they’ll not be able to concentrate in school. Captain, we‘ll spend Thanksgiving at sea. I have told Mario so he can plan for the voyage. Again let’s keep this a secret till school breaks for the Holidays.”
“What are you going to do for Halloween?”
“I haven’t given that much of a thought. What do you think?”
“We could decorate the dining hall and have a party. We’d need to buy the kids costumes and plan on games.”
“How about one of you taking on this project?”
“Diane and I will do that. I think it’ll be fun and I suggest that the adults also dress up in costumes. We should take the kids to buy costumes, and we could offer prizes.”
“OK, the Halloween party will be organizing by Aaron and Diane. Pull together your plans and estimated costs and give them to Tony. I want to be surprised as well.”
“Mario is planning on getting married in early November, I was going to fly them to a honeymoon spot, but maybe we should give them a cruise to Europe. I know Mario would like to go to Italy. He has family there. What do you guys think?”
“We need to be careful, so we don’t jeopardize our 501c. I would suggest you fly them. The plane does generate a profit, so that has been excluded from the 501c.”
“Ok, we can fly them to Italy.”
“You need to find out where in Italy his family resides. Maybe we can ask Aldo.”
“I think you just want to go there for dinner tonight.”
“That sounds like a good idea, and since it’s your idea, you can pay.”
OK, you can call Aldo and tell him how many are coming. Be sure the dad is there.”
Saturday at dinner, I announced tomorrow we would be going on a trip. Everyone had to be ready to go by 10 in the morning. The uniform for the day will be shorts, Sanctuary shirts, and sneakers. Everyone wanted to know where we were going. I told them it’s a surprise. The gang of four hung around and thought I’d tell them, which I didn’t.
Sunday morning, they all came to breakfast ready to go. Breakfast was light, cereals, and oatmeal. But you could feel the excitement building. I called the gang of four, “I want you to load 4 cases of water on each bus.”
At 10, we boarded the buses. The police did provide a driver and security. I had the two kids with the officer who provided security on the bus I drove. I kept being asked where we’re going. As we approached our destination, Pat spied a billboard with the advertisement for the circus. “Dad, are you taking us to the circus?”
I started to laugh, and then they know that was where we were headed. Arriving at the parking lot, we were met by a clown who led the kids to their seats as the buses unloaded. Security followed the kids; I had my own security, the gang of four, and a few more.
We had a separate section, and the security and bus drivers sat at the end of the rows. Once we were seated, the ringmaster came and talked to the kids. “Are you ready to see death-defying acts, clowns that are so sad you’ll laugh, and wild animals?”
There was a loud yell of yes. The band started to play. An elephant led the parade of performers as they marched around the ring. I watched the kids as they whispered to each other. A young man came along with bags of popcorn. He handed a bag to each kid and staff.
The clowns came out playing to the crowd. One of them came up and took the bag of popcorn from one of the kids. The kid stood up and glared at the clown. The clown asked him if he wanted the popcorn. The kid yelled yes. The clown took the bag and threw it at the kid, popcorn all over the place. The popcorn guy gave the kid a new bag. I noticed it was a little larger. When the clown went to get it, the kid hugged it tightly, and one of the other clowns hit him over the head with a bat made out of cloth.
The kids were enthralled at the acts. They held their breath for the tight rope walkers. They remarked that the trapeze artists were something they’d like to do. The animal acts were funny except the lion tamer. They held their breath when the lion tamer put his head into the lion’s mouth. I think of all the animals they like the elephants the best, except Pat, who liked the dog acts. I felt sorry for Sandy. The girls shut their eyes during the knife thrower’s act.
The circus lasted almost 3 hours. Before leaving, Tony passed out a souvenir of the circus, and it was a clown mask. As the kids got on the bus to go home, they had their masks on. I could see them wearing those masks to dinner tonight. By the time we got home, the Chinese food had arrived and was being kept hot by Janet.