For some reason, this memory stuck in my head all week.
When I was in third grade, my class went on a field trip to see historic architecture of the area. I don't even remember where we went, but we were walking around Downtown Coeymans (WHOO HOO!!) as a class and saw some old houses from the outside. What I do remember was that as we were walking around, a young-ish guy-maybe in his 30s or 40s- came to his front door and asked where we were from, what were we doing, all in a very nice, polite manner. My teacher explained that we were a class from the local elementary school looking at old houses and the guy says, "Oh... well, my house is really old... would you like to come in and see it?" or something to that effect. And we all walked in, looked around, and it was all very neat and clean and historic and interesting.
Now, looking back at it, any number of scenarios make sense. Maybe this guy really did want 25 8 year olds traipsing through his house for the educational experience. Maybe he was just home for that day, saw us outside and wondered what our story was. It's also very possible that my 3rd grade teacher, who was a gay man, knew this guy and had set it up beforehand. Maybe it was his Special Friend. Or maybe not. Who knows.
All I know is that at the time, I thought it was thoroughly impossible that it was not a set up. His house was too perfect, not lived-in looking at all... no potato chips crumbs on the coffee table, no breakfast dishes in the sink, no bad television on. What was he doing before he saw us? What is the likelihood that he looked out the window at just the right time? But most of all, I knew- JUST KNEW- that there was nothing random about him seeing us because I knew all the straightening, the cleaning, the "don't-touch-that-I-just-cleaned-it" my mom did before people came over to see our house, and it would be A COLD DAY IN HELL before she had 26 people over on the spur of the moment.
Especially 25 kids with wet boots on.
(Love you, Mom.)