The list of things I’m thankful for is long, and includes my family, nachos, our church, orthopedic insoles, my health, generic Advil, good friends, and pretty much any pork product, just to name a few.
I am also very thankful for my job as an author, because it allows me to visit so many elementary-age students and attempt to inspire them to do big things. I even get to create stories with some of them. I’ve been writing progressive fairy tales with the kindergarten classes at our elementary school for years now. Each child adds the next sentence to the story, and they are hilarious.
On this Thanksgiving eve, I am especially thankful for an organization called RPAL – the Roseville Police Activities League – and for its director, Vivi Nevarez, and all the volunteers that help run this great after school and summer activities program. The mix of kids is everywhere from your run-of-the-mill elementary schooler looking for a fun afternoon program all the way to some very at-risk youth who could be one misstep away from a much different life. Most of the kids come from low-income, single-parent homes or foster care.
RPAL and programs like it all across the country are known to be the largest organized crime prevention programs we have as a nation, and the people who dedicate their lives to facilitating these programs cannot be thanked enough.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to come do an author workshop with the RPAL kids yesterday, and we wrote a progressive fairy tale with a group of twelve young people ranging from second grade to high school.
It was a room full of wonderful imaginations. An obvious love of cereal, combined with some Harry Potter and Hansel and Gretel influences, as well as a ton of good old-fashioned making stuff up brings us this:
The Cinnamon Toast Crunch Incident (Alternate title: Maybe We Just Go to the Store Next Time)
By Oliver, Marvin, Messiah, Aiden, Jonathan, Kimberly, Carolyn, Jazmin, Jasmine, Cassie, Gianna and Cianna
Once upon a time there was a funny talking robot tennis ball named Jack, who bounced around from place to place. He was friends with a fast orange turtle named Raisin who was generally mean to everyone he met.
One day they desperately wanted to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, but they had no milk. They naturally decided to go look for a magical cow to milk in the deep dark forest. After three suns and two moons of fruitless searching for a milk cow, they encountered a dark, evil witch.
Before they could resist, the witch cast a spell on them with her twisted magical wand that was made with the feather of a Phoenix, and they found themselves floating into her dark, creepy house.
Jack and Raisin were floating past the witch when Jack used his extendable robot arm, that could extend over five hundred million thousand feet. He extended his arm like lightning and grabbed the magic wand out of the evil witch’s hand.
Unfortunately, she had a second wand, and she pulled it out of her cloak and used it to continue levitating them into her huge oven. The door slammed behind them and the fire came to life under them.
Jack, thinking quickly, used the first wand that he was still holding in his extendable hand to conjure up a full-size cow inside the oven with them. The cow broke the oven open with its enormous body, and immediately kicked the evil witch right in head and sent her flying one thousand billion trillion feet into the air.
With the witch gone for good, the black and white cow just stood there mooing at the two friends. Jack used the magic wand to levitate their Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal to the witch’s kitchen table, then politely asked the cow if they could milk her.
The cow was nice enough to say yes, and the two friends finally enjoyed their delicious breakfast. After they were done eating, Jack and the cow jumped onto Raisin’s back, and the super-fast turtle ran them all the way home. When they got there, they filled their whole house with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and milked the magical cow for one trillion years until the whole house was a gigantic bowl of cereal.
Thank you Vivi, and all the other RPAL rock stars, for the opportunity to come hang out with your kids for a few hours and bring this story to life. I am very thankful for your tireless dedication. Keep up the good work!
Have a great Thanksgiving!
See you soon,
Copyright © 2016 Marc Schmatjen
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