Archive for November, 2006

The First (Grade) Thanksgiving

// November 9th, 2006 // No Comments » // writing

Ricky and I had been assigned to do a project together in first grade. It was near Thanksgiving and in the spirit of the season, we were partnered up and given some modeling clay. All we had to do was to make some food from the First Thanksgiving. It wasn’t truly difficult; we were in first grade, after all. I had all kinds of ideas about what we could make. I was actually excited about it and was eager to get started. The two of us went to Ricky’s house, since it was closer from school. I had never been over to his house before, but his family was nice and his mom got us all situated with a table to work at, just for the two of us! This never happened at our house. We rarely had a room, let alone a table to ourselves to work on something. Ricky was an only child, so he didnt have to share. It was exhilarating! I spread out, ready to create some art.

Ricky wasn’t used to sharing much, but he was polite enough at first. He just didn’t care to share the responsibility of the project. We were both having fun with the clay, but he wasn’t being serious about it. I was serious for the both of us, my sleeves rolled up

I loved working in the clay, especially art clay. It was different than Play-Doh, which is what I usually had to work with. I loved using Play-Doh, but I hated the smell that lingered on my hands. It would make me gag afterwards and I would scrub it with the most caustic soaps I could find in order to get rid of it. But modelling clay’s smell was wonderful. It was soothing and more earthy. The colors blended better than Play-Doh, which almost glowed with its color, screaming “toy” versus “art”.

I made a pumpkin right away. It was a bit browner than I intended, but you could still see what it was. I quickly made another, smoothing the grooves with my thumbs, a potter with his clay, forming life of the earth… the bountiful food spilling out of the cornucopia (which I could never remember the name of). I glanced over at Ricky to see what he had formed. “Look!” he giggled. “I made a butt!”

I was mortified! “We don’t have much clay, Ricky! You should start with the other vegetables!” He wasn’t listening to me.

“Ha ha! I made some yellow eyes!” He held them up in front of his own, leering at me. He was giddy with laughter and I knew that I couldn’t depend on Ricky any more. He was like the guy on the desert island who ends up spilling all the water. His eyes were crazed as he started work on a foot. A red foot!

“Give me that!” I demanded, grabbing the rest of the yellow and starting on an ear of corn. I knew that I had to think for myself at this point. I tried to make some squash with the leftover yellow. I had to take some of the red, left over from the foot Ricky was making. In the end, I molded the foot he had started into a crude pepper. I smiled. It was looking rather brown.

Ricky had put me in a real mess, all right. I didn’t know how we were getting out of this. I surveyed our horde… not much to speak of. We had two pumpkins, a few squash, an ear of corn. Courtesy of Ricky, we als had two poorly formed butts, a pair of yellow eyes and a foot. I formed the two butts Ricky had made into a another pumpkin, to Ricky’s yells of protest. “Those butts are mine!” he howled. “Listen!” I screamed. “Your butts have to feed the pilgrims through the winter, stupid!” He had the grace to look ashamed and I continued to save our butts, finishing our project.

In the end, we displayed our harvest the next Monday morning at school, among all the other kids’ projects. Dismayed, I saw more than a few questionably shaped fruits and vegetables. I’m sure I saw a car shaped tomato and a banana that looked like a rocket. I realized that the point of this was to think about Thanksgiving and about what we were all thankful for. I smiled as I gave thanks that I didn’t have to survive the winter depending only on my fellow classmates.