Saturday, May 11

Andy Griffiths

It was a warm May afternoon and we ventured to the Dandenongs to the Rhododendron Gardens for a Book week special. A girlfriend had organised the kids tickets, and to look after the twins at her house, while I took our bigger kids to the festivities. A big win for me.
I took a blanket and a magazine, and unbelievable got the change to lay out in the afternoon sun and read while Xandy and friend ran off and became part of the show. It started with a show and then an activity which saw the kids run off into the garden in search of words. When they found all the words - which were hanging from trees they had to write a poem.
Kids were dotting everywhere and it was only when everyone seemed to be settling to write that I began to worry where they were.

 This is how I found them. Everyone else had gone back to their parents for help but these too had no interest at all in me and were determined to get their winning entries in. Bless.

Then we were hustled into a long line and marched up through the gardens to the main building. This is where Andy Griffith would be speaking. The kids got a spot on the floor and I headed to the back. He spoke for about an hour - talking to the kids about how he gets his inventive stories. The kids had opportunities to ask questions. All the kids seem to enjoy this, and what was lovely to see was how many boys he attracted to reading.

Now was the time for form a line for book signing. Seems a few people have problems with this and whilst we weren't a long distance from the front, the line was increadibly 'thick' towards the front. We stood, unmoving for 45 minutes. DID NOT MOVE! By that point we'd invested so much time that we may as well stay. The kids were no longer in line and I was holding a space for the kid behind us.
In the middle of the room, the three kids got out their books and started brainstorming their own Andy Inspired book. One of the kids they had only met in that line!
 Finally, a whole hour after we'd lined up did we get our book signed. As we were considered the patient ones, he even wrote their names! I can't say I envy that job. Having waited that long, the kids really were happy for the meeting.

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