The day began with a wonderful breakfast as we loaded the busses (at the crack of dawn), brought to us once again by a coalition of the area churches including the Church of the King, Journey Church of the Nazarene, Londonderry Christian Church, Londonderry Presbyterian Church, Londonderry United Methodist Church, Orchard Christian Fellowship, St. Jude’s Catholic Church, St. Mark Catholic Church, Diane Christian Fellowship, God squad SE and the Londonderry Derry Clergy Association. Each individual bag included a bagel or muffin, jelly or jam, juice, water, a breakfast bar and a couple of mints. The fact that Dunkin Donuts opened early for us was a bonus!
As we left New Hampshire we were treated to a beautiful sunrise and wonderful traveling weather. There was minimal traffic, with the exception of a couple of construction areas and the major cities, and we made very good time. As we are traveling in pairs, however, each team on two busses, when bus 3 had mechanical troubles, bus four waited with it. They were about an hour outside Philadelphia when the trouble occurred and the situation was handled as expeditiously as possible. The students dealt with the delay I with tolerance and understanding. While they didn’t get the full tour of Philadelphia, some of the sites were shared.
The other 6 busses of students toured the various sites of Philadelphia, seeing the Liberty Bell, Constitution Hall, Carpenter’s Hall (where the 1st Continental congress met), and Christ’s Church where students sat in the same seats that George Washington and his family sat in, as well as many other of our founding fathers. We saw the boarding house that Betsy Ross lived in, and is said to have created the first flag at, as well as a printing press like that Benjamin Franklin would have used. Finally, students dropped pennies on the grave of Benjamin Franklin despite Franklin’s advise in life, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned.’
Dinner was at the Old Country Buffet. This is a traditional stop because they offer everything there… Italian, Mexican, American and Chinese dishes as well as salads, fruits and a plethora of desserts. Additionally, it easily held 300 students and there was still room for the early birds. The students were patient, respectful and not at all wasteful. It was great to see the variety on their plates, a taco, macaroni and cheese, a piece of pizza, and for dessert: ice cream, pie, cake and self serve soft ice cream with toppings galore.
To pass the time on the way down busses 5 and 6 held “Bus Idol”. Single and duo acts signed up over last week to perform. We had a couple of pop songs from both the boys and girls. Mrs. Ronayne, who recently married and is now Mrs. Marques, surprised the bus with a rap song and Mrs. Soares sang a favorite Tom Chapin song. Round one is complete and over the week we will continue additional rounds of Idol.
We also passed the travel time with movies: “Frozen” to begin and then, “The Pacifier.” These movies were a terrific combination of fun and action. On the way to the hotel after dinner, “My Girl” was the show of choice and it did the trick, quieting everyone down until about 30 minutes out. The saddest part of the movie coincided when the thunder and lightening storm decided to settle on us. With each lightening bolt there was a swell of voices until finally, at about 10 minutes out, a calm once again settled on the students. We issued our final instructions, the need for help unloading the bus, the fact that students would be issued their keys and released from the bus as a room group, and that they should respect that there are other patrons in the hotel.
Everyone was checked in, taped in and, at least on the 4th floor, quiet and contented. 6am wake-ups for tomorrow and a wonderful long day ahead.