The Kids Speak

I have a good friend, Shelley, who is an elementary teacher in Indiana. ?For some insane reason, she decided to “introduce me” to her 2015/16 class of young malleable minds.


With completely predictable results.

While I was riding the 2700 miles from California to South Carolina, Shelley was having her students study each of the 13 states along my route. ?The students were all kept updated of where I was and what was the latest calamity of the day. ?There seemed to be universal concern about “the rock in my tire”:


The kids all wrote me letters asking me about the trip. ?Instead of firing back emails to each of them, I decided to step up my responses. ?I spent weeks creating video responses. ?I figured if the kids can devote a ton of time to researching different states, I could spend just as much time responding.

If?you’re?insane enough to want to watch them . . . for the love of God,?please?seek professional help immediately. ?Seriously. ?Not even my mother, God rest her soul, could stand to watch these. ?You have to remember, I’m talking to 8 and 9 year olds. ?They’re a lot smarter — and way more honest — than politicians, and while that’s not exactly a high bar to jump, in these videos we’re not exactly discussing?Faust.

While there are no fart jokes (which I know a 3rd grader would enjoy) I’m also not telling jokes like this: ?Did you hear about the jurisprudence fetishist? He got off on technicality . . . ?Or: ?A pun, a play on words, and a limerick walk into a bar. No joke. ?(By the way, I hear an anecdote was also in attendance.) ?In other words, y’all, if you didn’t write these letters to me, I can’t imagine holding your attention.

I’m a tad bit of a perfectionist. ?As I informed Shelley, I could have spent months tweaking these things. ?I’m disappointed in the sound quality for one thing. ?The early states seem to have a “out of sync” problem while sound levels in all of them are . . . not perfect. ?The lighting of the videos suck. ?Yeah yeah yeah, I could go on and on, but, it is what it is.

Here are the letters the kids wrote, followed by the video response.







NM Emma Paris 2 QUESTION

TX Griffin Abby Katelyn Cole QUESTION

OK Jamison Camryn 2 QUESTION

LA Page 1 Brooklyn Garrett QUESTION


AR Emma Xzyia Jacie QUESTION



AL Evan Nichole QUESTION



SC Kaylee Audrey QUESTION

Updated March 3, 2016

I heard back from Shelly this afternoon:

We have had a couple of crazy weeks schedule wise at school but the kids have finally watched all of the videos. They have truly enjoyed them. When you showed the dog you saw on The Ride and you had your two make their appearance there were collective aaaaah?s! Any cute and cuddly animal is always a hit with 3rd graders, so when any dog was on the screen there were always aaaah?s. 🙂

There were quite a few gasps when you told about the tarantula in your room. I don?t think you said anything about that in your blog or else I missed it because that is something I would not forget. You hit the funny mark with the audio clip of how you sounded when you saw your 8 legged roommate. There were several giggles. 🙂

They also thought it was funny that you couldn?t count, you called yourself an ?Old Geezer?, that you made a monkey out of me when I put my fingers in my ears, and that you said Oklahoma 21 times. Many counted along each time you said Oklahoma. I stopped the video after a few and had them make predictions, most said 10-12, I only had one that guessed 20. They liked seeing themselves in the last video and thought it was great you used the goofy picture of them. You should work with kids?you know what they like or else you just act like one. 🙂

My class is extremely active class this year and they loved the music. Several liked to dance to the songs when you introduced some of the states. Evan wrote to you about Alabama and wondered if you would play Sweet Home Alabama when you talked about it. You made his day when you did. The kids even sang with Lynard.

Evan grabbed the dictionary and looked up penultimate and read the definition to the class. They quickly got it and listed your last two states. I also heard a couple of ?I want to do that?s.? when you talked about space camp.

I enjoyed watching the kids as you read their letters and talked about their states. Their faces would light up, some of their expressions were priceless. You are a celebrity in their eyes. 🙂 You have definitely impacted their lives and learning through your kindness and generosity. (Be careful??Your curmudgeon is wearing off?.) I truly appreciate you for sharing your adventure and knowledge with my kids and the time you put into creating the video responses.

The kids liked the picture of you eating the ice cream cone, you were totally in sync with them. ?You also ended this video with another great picture of you. ?In both of these you look like you are truly enjoying yourself and are living in the moment. ?I may be sadly mistaken but I imagine these pictures reflect your personality better than the term curmudgeon that you so frequently call yourself.

I do have one complaint?Why on earth did you have to use my picture? I hate having my picture taken anyways and then that is one of the worst school pictures I?ve had taken. Other than that I loved the videos. 🙂 Thanks again!