Once upon a time there was a girl who lived in the Kingdom of Carolina. Her loving parents told her they were going to Charlotte for José's graduation. The girl, whose name was Pamela, woke up early in anticipation of seeing her cousin José who attended his first year of college at UNC Charlotte. Later she ate a very big breakfast, that was just right by the way, before she put on nice clothes and got in the gray horseless carriage. The journey was long and Pamela grew tired. She took a very long nap in the carriage.
They arrived in Charlotte and met with her father's friend José. He was too old and too tall to be her cousin José. She politely shook his hand and said, "You're the wrong person!" Her parents tried explaining that we would see a different José, not her cousin. She bravely kept her disappointment quiet.
Then, she met another José who was the tall José's father. He was as old as her grandfather. She shook his hand and only said, "Hola." She was getting used to seeing the wrong José. She bravely kept her disappointment quiet.
Then, she saw a young man who was her age and only a little taller than herself. His name was José too, but he was the wrong José. He was not her cousin who liked to play shooting games by pointing their fingers at things. She asked, "Where's cousin José?" It turned out that the two José's were roommates at the college in Charlotte. The young José said, "He went back to El Salvador on Wednesday." Even though she was sad to miss her favorite cousin, her parents were not surprised. They were happy to see the three José's and the rest of this unfamiliar family. She bravely stayed quiet and decided to go with the flow on this very unusual day, full of unexpected surprises.
The first surprise was that they skipped lunch! Her parents did not seem worried, and she was still full from breakfast. Pamela stayed calm and cool. They were in stop-and-go traffic for a long time and then had to walk a long way from the parking lot to the arena for the ceremony. Her parents did not seemed worried, and she was not too tired because of the nap. So, she stayed calm but cooled off after getting inside. After all, it was a very hot day.
Pamela enjoyed the band playing, but the long speeches and the time it took for 1500 students and almost as many professors to file in seemed to take forever. She looked over at her parents who enjoyed chatting with the family of three José. Little did she know that even her own mother was getting antsy and light-headed an hour into the ceremony and secretly hoping Pamela would ask about lunch or beg to get out of there. Inside the calm and cool presence of mind of everyone in the party led Pamela to believe that they were fine with skipping lunch and watching a very long, somewhat dull ceremony. [Note: The planners did a fantastic job of herding the students and faculty in and out very, very quickly, and our slight boredom was no fault of theirs.]
Suddenly, things began to liven up. First, they spied the lady two rows down with foot-long, shiny, pink nails. I, the narrator, am not exaggerrating--those babies were L-O-N-G! Then, they heard a graduate announced whose name was David Joseph, just like Pamela's brother. They searched the program and found another graduate with the name Pamela Ann, which surprised Pamela to no end and caused her to exclaim, "What the heck? That's not Glaser!" Pamela relaxed and began chatting with the youngest José's mother and even held her hand, which caused all to pronounce her a dear, sweet girl. In a quick chain of events, they witnessed the ringing of the bell (eight dings only), the running of the mascot which looked strangley like a dumpy witch, and the turning of the tassels, which was topped off by a very loud boom and firing of colorful streams and gave Pamela a feeling of fireworks.
The two families headed out. They located José the graduate and his friends and posed for some pictures. To pass the time while José and his friends were saying their good-byes, which take forever with Salvadorans, Pamela wowed them with her calendar trick: the eldest José thought he would trick her with a date from the 19th century, but she knew that September 18, 1898 and December 6, 1931 were Sunday (domingo) and May 10, 1932 was Tuesday (martes). After a few more pictures, Pamela's patience was wearing thin, so we all headed to the hotel for dinner, or was it lunch?
Pamela finally ate a bunless burger and fries at six o'clock! Her parents were amazed beyond belief that she had held out so long without even one hint of a meltdown. She chatted a little bit with the two mothers and even clicked her tongue and sang snatches from the songs Lollipop and My Boy Lollipop for the ladies.
Moral of the Story: Kids are a lot more resilient when we don't tell them what they are supposed to be missing!