Common People – but wait…

…yes, we’ll let you decide after this post.

6:38 AM, and I was STUNNED.  I woke up a little nervous knowing this was the 45th Annual Fair, it was 4:30 AM and I wondered how would everything fit into place when it felt like I certainly had bitten off more than I could chew ?  (kind of a funny statement when you will hear this story).  I felt AWFUL this morning, I have to be honest, MAJOR migraine from staying late the might before getting materials ready, printing, organizing, I feel 10 shades to the wind this morning and know this was NOT the morning to be feeling bad – crossed my fingers and dived into the morning  🙂

Turning into ASF with a truck full of supplies to make it through a day of a HUGE Bazaar of Art, food, and concessions, so here we were the plans were already set out.  We would run our usual Repentino. magazine booth, as well as supervise a PR table for Repentino., and then also support the chance given to run a Choripan booth to help be involved in a Empty Bowls Project with Lower School AND work with Gamma to help them with activities that they could use support in.  It sounded well, not EASY but doable when we said it, talked about it, and mapped it out, but – gulp – seeing everything in front of you on a quiet Saturday before all happened, um, that is another thing.

On top of that, add that one of the ASF IB artists, (not just any artist) a personal favorite and former Repentino. Art Editor was going to be exhibiting her works, and I would actually see a commissioned painting for the first time – I mean, if you have ever heard those lines from the film, American Beauty – by Ricky Fitts in the film :  “It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. Right? And this bag was just dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… I need to remember… Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.” – I still get this unbelievable level of nervousness in seeing, working, and being with students that never cease to amaze me, because I know our time is limited and I never can get the right words to tell them at any moment how spectacular I think they are – and before I can formulate the words – poof! – they graduate and are gone and I miss them, miss their jokes, quirks, and just moments, but – let’s not digress.

Things progressed nicely where the tables were set up, staff started to flow in – and being in two places, well actually three, seemed kind of ridic- no – possible, yes possible.

Moment of truth – 10:00 the opening – and pizza arrived on time, so we were set for Repentino. – however, we had 500 chorizo and no bread and I was beginning to sweat, so we started cooking the chorizo – anticipating the bread, Ms Duque, where ARE YOU – nervousness setting in – and whoom!  Here she is! – people asking for sandwiches slowly, heading to her vehicle to unload – HOLY COW!  back seat, trunk, front seat, FULL of over 150 baguettes, chimichurri – everything you could IMAGINE, running back with boxes and carts of bread, supplies, the father of one of the Gamma staff cutting and helping cook and helping unselfishly for no reason at all except he believes in the club his daughter is in – searing heat and all of a sudden – CROWDS – LINES of people that never allowed us to ever stay ahead of them 2, 4, then 8 sandwiches of Choripan please, yes, we want the deli-tasting Chimichurri please, homemade, no wonder so good, who?  Yes she should open her OWN store with the taste of THIS chimichurri, wow!, peeling, cutting, cooking, watching Gamma young men become chefs in minutes, masters of the Choripan, watching the booth become a butcher shop before our eyes…

Taking a breath, walking the booths seeing how the clubs are doing, Repentino. pizza, seeing staff remodel the PR booth and make it inviting to bystanders and wow, rolling through 25 pizzas at 10:30, 25 more at 12:30, walking the fair selling as a baseball vendor, replacing each other, Repentino. staff switching places to help the Chorizo gurus at Gamma and keeping up working side by side, dual club members, some not club members but believing we can do this together and be successful….back to pizza, leaning tower of 20 pizzas NO!….falling tower of pizzas, arranging, sorting, heating, networking with Common People creating a partnership with Repentino. magazine, was that the Secretary of Education I saw eating CHORIZO (why yes it was with Mr. Williams, AFTER we saw the band behind him and stopping like the king of Mardi Gras, THAT was cool!), everything humming, stopping long enough to realize, HEY!  I HAVE to go to bathroom and get something to drink! – slipping out for a 10 minute break amid the crowds, I wonder… Checking to see if Lucia Ocejo, ASF IB Artist of 2014 along with Fiona Kach, is here, and whoa – WHOA, seeing Lucia, smiling and wishing she could be here for at least one more semester?  Possibly?  Recalling her steadfast and insistent ways and so so proud and courageous and seeing her upset when she had a vision and it did not go the way she pictured yet knowing this artists inside her would explode on the scene soon, seeing her back and BACK at and on our ASF campus, and yes, a portrait commissioned in Boston and here it is mounted and being displayed – Lucia was a WELCOME site to see even if for only the 10 minutes I could get a breather and whisking off to food boothdom –

People EVERYWHERE – sucked into the crowds and for the next four hours living eating and experiencing shift changes, Chorizo turning into choripan with much effort, heat, sweat, aching backs, how many have be gone through?  yes, just past FOUR HUNDRED chorizo – looking up and not wanting to – knowing and hearing the lines of people coming, coming coming, 5:00 – like that – everyone and everything packing, leaving, ending, counting depositing, 10 pizzas out of 50 whoa, no need for 10 more for tonight’s game – TONIGHT’S game – can I even stand a bit longer for tonight’s FOOTBALL GAME concession? – counting a successful day and then some for pizza, an unbelievable success of Chorizo, Gamma and Repentino. and Empty Bowls volunteers working side by side and proving how amazing teamwork is and brings leaders out, – rushing to the football field for our next stint of concessions for an evening game – unloading, warming, and seeing volunteers that I did not even know would be life savers for a long day, selling, reheating PIZZA, yelling for an AMAZING game, back, and forth, touchdown for us, them, US, THEM, wow, THIS is a GAME! – injuries sending an ASF athlete to the hospital, another on the field down, another, another, competition, yelling, crazy crazy GAME, whoa, any tiredness for a 10 hour day disappearing into excitement, energy, music, staff and students, and cheer teams yelling, supporting, WHOA!  TOUCHDOWN! – Bears pulling ahead and finally the break away into ANOTHER victory and KUDOS of respect for the Gators – what a GAME!

9:30 and guess what, no, I am serious, we are DONE – Done after thousands of pesos earned from hard work, perseverance, and just believing we can do things that seems a crazy and impossible, and guess what?  AFTER 14 straight hours of concessions – this is what we learned –

1) Our feet will go numb

2) Our hands will grow callouses in one day from cutting, slicing, preparing, microwaving and wrapping

3) Our arms, hands, faces, and backs will burn, heat up, groan

4) We will laugh in between some of the most stressful times EVER and yet, we are amazingly finding out we are conquering ALL odds

5) Working alongside each other despite our club affiliation, we are AMAZING and defy the odds of doing three, maybe four, no FIVE things at one time

6) Seeing recently precious grads at ASF’s Art Fair was THE artistic part to the day, the very people that made me smile and feel like I could go on forever due to the beauty in their work and hearts, yes, they have not changed.

7) Only days this long are possible with the amazing students that are motivated by some pretty great other students and adults that in turn reenergize each of us…do you see the pattern?

8) The earnings are truly one way of measuring our success yet, strip that away and you will see, moments that will never be back and we fought our way through these hours, that seemed like years in front of piles of food, that in turn, if we look close enough, bring us closer to people we never really knew until we had to peel slices of chorizo lining off links or turn slice after slice after slice into steps towards dreams we have for opportunities to share out visions with the world beyond our own…

9) The realization that with each graduation it gets harder and harder to say goodbye to the very people we have these moments with, AND – harder to not be with the graduates that swallowed our hearts that first year, and the second year, and even the third, it never has gotten easy even when they graduated YEARS ago…

10 ) We can actually go on forever if we are surrounded by the spirit, energy and determination that these young ladies and young men show when it really counts…

TRULY, there is no such thing as Common People when we are together, yet, if we could make the common person work together, dream together, and succeed together like we have today? – Common would be the most amazing new word and successful word ever created –

There IS so much beauty in the world and it is in the spirt, determination, belief, and brushstroke that many are not to afraid to take out, and the results are beautiful.

Truly, arriving back home at 10:30 PM – I was amazing and stood in front of my door in disbelief – I MADE IT – and as I walked into my entryway with a smile I realized, I am the richest person in the world thanks to the very individuals I had a chance to spend my time with working HARD, really really hard,  today – it doesn’t get any better than this…

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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