A Perfect Day

What is a perfect day? It is different things for different people, I suspect.

For some, it’s playing a round at Augusta. With Tiger. (If I played golf, it would be Jack for me, which tells you I’m not as young as I look.)

For others, it would be watching Josh Hamilton hit a walk-off grand slam in the seventh game of the World Series at the Ballpark in Arlington. (They have to get past the Tigers, first.)

For still others, it would be… well, maybe something like yesterday.

The day began early — we were all awake by five, although some didn’t actually make it out of bed for another hour-and-a-half. (No, it wasn’t me, I was up at 5:15a. And, yes, I realize the irony of that being mentioned in the same sentence as “perfect day” when I am involved.) Showers, breakfasts, and a morning devotional later, we were on the way to our mission partner’s restoration house for girls rescued from sex trafficking.

The party began with the girls performing a program for us. There was group singing, individual singing, a group dance by some of the younger girls, a traditional cocoanut dance (with some of the girls decked out as guys, which was great fun), and another traditional dance. They were all spectacularly good (not that we’re biased). Jennifer leaned over during this time and said, “Would anyone mind if we take them home with us?”

We ate lunch and had humongous portions of a humongous cake, at which time we were warned that it was a tradition to rub icing on the visitor’s faces. “Really? How exactly did that become a tradition?” “I don’t really know,” says the guy who started the restoration center, not sounding at all convincing. Sure enough, we were soon wearing at least as much icing as we’d eaten.

Next was crafts. Erica, Jen, and Katherine showed the girls how to make bracelets with strips of cloth, but the girls were way ahead of them, and were soon making headbands, anklets, and all in all doing a better job in ten minutes than we did in all of our of practicing leading up to the trip. But we’re perfectly fine with that. Mostly.

While the girls were running artistic circles around everyone, Mike and I were blowing up water balloons. A lot of water balloons. (At one point, one of the Khmer staff that was helping us looked at the stack we already had and said, “How many do you need?” with that tone of voice that said, “Crazy Americans, you already have plenty!”) When you play water balloon volleyball (four girls on a towel, throw it to another towel held by four girls), you need roughly six water balloons per towel per minute. We had eight towels. The math is left as an exercise for the reader.

The actual “volleyball” portion of water balloon volleyball only lasted, I don’t know, maybe 45 seconds, and then it was just a water balloon fight. With fifty girls, another twenty or so staff, and us. It was hardly any fun at all. I hope we don’t have to do that again. At least, not until today. Today would be a good day to do that again.

After that we lined the girls up into five lines and did a series of sack races. They had a blast, or at least appeared to, but as much fun as they had racing, I think they enjoyed the last race most of all — five of the staff lined up in the sacks and took off. The girls went nuts, yelling and laughing and screaming for their favorite to win. Yes, today, today would be a good day to do that again. Seriously, can we do that again today?

Was it a perfect day? Well, I’ve married the woman of my (and many others) dreams, I’ve heard a judge say, “Ashley, you are now officially a Rice,” and I’ve been in the hospital room when they brought in the WCG (World’s Cutest Grandbaby). So, no, I don’t think it was a perfect day.

But it’s in the Top Five.

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