The problem with homeschool field trips is that I am the one in charge of explaining and educating.(Eureka! I have just stumbled upon the problem with homeschooling in general!) HA-HA! In all seriousness, I'm fine and dandy when it comes to explaining certain subjects, but when we found ourselves about to enter Nellis Air Force Base for a sweet little tour of the Threat Training Facility (whose idea was this?) - I was at a loss for words.
Joe: Why does the guy at the gate have a huge gun?
Homeschool Field Trip Proctor (Me): Hm... weeeeell... Well, this is a military base, and...
Cayna: What's the military?
Me: Hm... weeeeell...
Joe: Mom? Why does he need that gun?
Me: Actually, Joe, we're hoping he doesn't! HA-HA! Come on kids! On to the Threat Training Facility! (Thinking to myself: Where on earth are the other people in our group?)
Immediately upon arrival at the facility - after getting lost only once on the base - we were greeted by a lovely civilian gentleman wearing a concert t-shirt and bleached hair, in sharp contrast to the soldiers in their fatigues everywhere else.
Lovely Civilian Gentleman: Kids! Have you looked at these guns?
(There was a wall full of guns, all kinds. But Lovely Civilian Gentleman points to one in particular and proceeds to tell the story of how it was acquired. It was here that the contrast between our homeschool outing to the Air Force Base and Joe's first-grade public school outing to Anderson Dairy became starkly evident.)
Lovely Civilian Gentleman: This guy gets pulled over for a routine traffic violation and the dogs just went CRAZY!!! (Dogs? Why were dogs involved in a routine traffic violation? But, as the humble proctor, I zip my lip and smile wanly.) They found THIS (indicating an AK-47 Assault Rifle with a bayonet-like thingy sticking out the front) along with several kilos of cocaine! He was a total gangbanger! Keep this in mind, mom (to me, obviously) -- next time someone cuts you off in traffic think it through before you give 'im the high sign... (praise the Lord he did not demonstrate the "high sign" at this point - I had enough to explain to my children with the introduction of the terms "cocaine" and "gangbanger") ...because he might be carrying one of THESE in the trunk! (To Joe:) Have you learned about the Geneva Convention in school yet?
Joe: (shakes his head no)
Lovely Civilian Gentleman: Well, this baby is totally in violation of the terms of the Geneva Convention. Alright! Enjoy the rest of your time here! (exits) (thank God)
And with that we were free to enjoy the acres of tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets.
What words do I use to describe how I felt seeing my five year-old sweetheart on top of a Russian tank?
Or what it was like to stare down the barrel of the enemy's weapon?