Recess came around. The school assembled outside the classrooms. Kites would be counted . Those without a kite were doomed . Mengele nun would point : You to the beach . You to the classroom . Classroom , classroom , classroom. Beach . You , you . No kite no Kite Day at the beach .
My fourth graders had spent part of the morning making kites . They had attached a few inches of yarn to little diamond -shaped pieces of stiff paper . We used all the supplies that I had available . How many have we got ? You boys count . More than two hundred ? How many more ? We don’t have any more yarn . No , Jimmy , we ‘re not going to pull the threads out of Rosalba’s sweater. We’ll go with what we’ve got .
The second assembly :
Agnes at the bent bullhorn says again : Anyone without a kite stays . Hold up your kites ! The moment of reckoning has arrived . Three hundred students hold up kites.
Those aren’t kites ! The bent bullhorn was rattling .
Of course they’re kites ! , I said. They fly ! At this point I ran with one of them , holding the end of the yarn and dragging a reluctant little diamond-shaped paper as it wobbled and spun in clumsy contortions before the assembly .
Sister Agnes , drill sergeant stance , arms akimbo , glared at Principal O’Donnell .
” Are you going to let him get away with this ? ” There were shards of glass in her stare . The prisoners waited to hear their fate . Everyone watched O’Donnell .
And then Jesus came down from heaven . Jesus whispered in the principal’s ear . Something . There was a momentary pause .
” They fly . They must be kites ” , said O’Donnell .
The clouds scattered , the heavens opened , and bright rays of light came down upon the gathered multitude . The teachers smiled . More astute students waited for the other shoe to drop ; waited for Sister Agnes to swing that hammer and smite the enemy once again . Waited .
Nothing . With some kind of a harumpf noise that sounded suspiciously like a curse she turned away and barged back into her classroom . We all went to the beach that day and all but one person had a wonderful day there .
Agnes took the bullhorn to the beach and directed activities on the sand because she was in charge of Student Council and Kite Day was a Student Council event . It must have been agony for her .
Understatement : She wasn’t happy with me that day .
I was smiling all day long , though. I couldn’t help it .