Tent, music and carpet

I was struggling to get the tent up. The front was sagging and it was barely big enough for two people to squeeze in.

No, we were not camping. Jenny and I don’t like spending nights with mosquitoes, and without air conditioning or showers.
I was on a ladder in a fourth-grade classroom, trying to put up a reading tent. And it was not going well. The tent was attached to six strands of plastic fishing line hanging evenly from the ceiling. At least, it was supposed to be.
The tent is part of Jenny’s rainforest motif in her language-arts classroom. There’s also a 14-foot paper snake across one wall with the words “Good writing gets under your skin,” and lots of other stuff, including live plants. Fortunately, no live bugs, just plastic ones.
It’s all part of what teachers call “getting the room ready,” a process that usually keeps our son, Joe, and me busy for several days.
Usually, we have made several trips to the teacher-supply stores and put up (and sometimes taken down) a lot of things before Jenny is satisfied that her room is “ready” for students.
It’s a little different than I remember in fourth grade, when the room was ready if the desks were lined up in rows and there were enough books to go around.
But times and expectations change and today’s fourth graders do work way beyond what I could have done at that age. Or now, as I find out sometimes when I see her correcting homework.
But, I digress. The tent is up, and reasonably straight; I didn’t fall off the ladder; the room is ready, and classes will start soon.
And Jenny is happy to be putting her language-arts skills to work in a new state. When Jenny’s happy, I’m happy. We husbands know the drill.
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The big question around town last week was not whether Jenny and I were going to attend, “Broadway 6: Anything Is Possible,” at the Cine Theatre at the Magnolia Civic Center. The question was what night were we going?
A half-dozen people put the question to me, including Lana Hall, at BNA Bank, whose daughter Sarah was one of the singers.
We enjoyed the show, and especially the rendition of “Great Balls of Fire” and “Unchain My Heart,” two of my personal favorites.
The annual show puts a lot of local talent to work and is the largest annual fundraising event  for improvements at the civic center. It usually takes in more than $8,000, according to Mike Staten, chairman of the civic center board.
The answer, by the way, is: We went Friday.
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If you come around the Gazette office this week, and see some of us sitting at our desks and slipping off our shoes, it’s not a new relaxed dress code.
We’re just happy that Lowe’s has installed squishy new carpeting through our offices after nearly three months of the bare-concrete-and-old-glue look.
You may remember all of our carpeting and lots of other stuff was ruined when our building flooded back in May. After 11 weeks, we’ve completed our recovery.
So come on by and have a look. We’d be happy to get up and sell you a paper.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 663-534-6321 or by e-mail at publisher@newalbanygazette.com.