Friday morning dawned with a cold, wet rain falling.
One of my sons had an overnight guest because Thursday night was some kind of Beavis and Butthead great event. (B & B can only be enjoyed by teenage boys, I think). He did not have the proper documentation to ride the bus to school with my sons on Friday, and the cold wet rain really made standing at the bus-stop unappealing, so I told them that they could just come to Mass with me and I would drop them at school afterwards.
You can imagine how excited 3 teenage boys were about going to 6:30 a.m. Mass, but they knew better than to protest too much.
They must have prayed, though, because when we got to church, there was no Mass. Our sacristan was in the parking lot, sending people on their way. Father was sick (food poisoning, my altar server sons told me tonight).
So we continued on our way to High School. I haven't dropped them off since the first day of school, and it was daylight then. But at 6:30 this particular morning, it was dark, dark, dark, rainy, and cold. (They start school at 7:05).
We noted a few buses arriving. The gate in the front where I would normally drop off (I dropped off a lot more often last year, when we lived 5 minutes away) was locked. So figuring that we were just too early, we pulled into the parking lot on the side where the teachers were arriving and decided to wait a few minutes.
After the requisite few minutes, I decided to drive them to the front and drop them off - there appeared to be activity there. Imagine my surprise/aggravation to find myself locked in - a gate across the street - locked. It's raining and dark, still.
The boys and I made our way into the building. The halls were patrolled by bright-eyed teachers directing the boys to go to the gym. I explained my predicament and I was sent upstairs to the library where the administrators were holding forth for some reason. I was met in the library by a posse of police and various school personnel who seemed to be on their way out and into action. Something about a bomb threat.
The posse of police didn't really alarm me - I knew a couple of them from my own school - which is a really sad commentary right there. They periodically gather to conduct random searches (another sad fact). And a bomb threat - well, when was the last time you heard about a school actually blowing up when someone called in a threat? I just wanted to get out.
I explained my situation again, and they said they would send *someone* to unlock the gate. When I got there, the gate was indeed unlocked and additional cars trying to drop off children had turned in. But there was someone out there locking it back....telling those of us who were now locked in - that we would have to go out "the other way".
What other way? "Follow those cars," someone told me. And all was well until 2 cars went straight and 2 cars went left. I stopped and waited. It was wet and it was dark. Those that turned left seemed to know where they were going, so I eventually picked that. Wrong! Ended up on a soccer field or something. Turned around and headed back the other way. All the way to the back of the campus, around the back of the stadium, and back along the other side of the school.
I had thoughts of calling in sick if this was any indication of the way the day was going to go.
By the time I was free, I had missed my chance for 7:00 Mass, but was able to make 7:15 at another parish.
Missed my workout. Shucks! Heard later in the day that our Curves is closing....like Monday. :-(
Later in the afternoon, I crossed paths with the SRO at my school. He said he had been at my sons' school for the operation there - someone had written a note the previous day threatening to come in and shoot up the place until they ran out of ammo. They take such things seriously. Had I known that was what the real threat was, I probably would have packed up my kids and taken them with me.
Thankfully, the rest of my day did NOT go like the morning. The rain cleared, though the sun never came out. My fifth graders - who suck every ounce of patience from me on a daily basis - were a pleasure to work with - rare occurrence that is!
My children came home safely. Life is good.