For the past 61 years a dedicated group of educators gather together to put on a county wide arts festival for the elementary grade level kids.
Included in the school-year end event are contests in fine art and poetry readings as well as a graded singing competition between the various schools in the 112-year old county.
The rivalry, if it exists at all, is usually manifested in minimal amounts by the parents of the neighboring schools, as the kids don't seem to hold any inkling of animosity toward their fellow elementarian brethren.
Naturally, they are curious about their peers from other nearby schools, but for them, it's a chance to sing a few songs in a gym that isn't theirs, ride a bus with their classmates, and not be stuck in a classroom for several precious hours.
Sadly, kids don't build walls until we teach them how to do it.
Other than some truly unobjectionable moments of "this is what life is about" as my wife, my in-laws and myself enjoyed C and the entire 2nd grade of her school perform two rousing numbers complete with hand gestures complicated enough to qualify as a parapara dance, the concert went without a hitch and her class received top marks for their performance.
I, however, caught myself yawning on a more than semi-regular basis through the entire mornings concertina - through no fault of my own, I might add.
Let me explain.
Open your mouth wide open right this very instant. Hold it open for a few seconds and tell me you didn't have to stifle the urge to let out a big ol' honking yawn.
Now, multiple that reflex by about 400 kids (about half of which seem to be afflicted by the yawning effect brought on by the opening of their mouths to belt out their well rehearsed musical ditties), and you'll understand why I too found my trap opened and lung capacity being expelled an inordinate amount of times.
I don't know. Maybe it was the dwindling amount of oxygen in the old gymnasium we were sitting in. Or perhaps the stress of performance was taking it's toll on the American Idol's in training.
Or, like the rest of the world, we were all just going on a little too little amount of zzz's from the night before.