Friday, April 22, 2016

Apple Trees and BR Games

My little apple tree, loaded with blossoms.

As I left for work yesterday morning, I glanced over and noticed that my little apple tree was still covered with blossoms despite last weekend's snow and below-freezing overnight temperatures. Thankfully, it wasn't a hard freeze, and my baby apple blossoms seem to have survived. My dream of small, sweet, autumn apples has been revived! (But I think I need to learn how to prune the tree back this fall, before those low branches take over...)

The blossoms are even prettier up close.

I snapped a quick picture of the tree and then went on to work, but then this afternoon, after I got home from work (TGIF), I decided to take some pictures of the blossoms themselves. They are so lovely. And I was pleased to see that the tree was buzzing with busy little bees. Dozens of them, maybe even hundreds, were flitting from bloom to bloom. That's good news, because I've been told there will be no apples without cross-pollination from the hundreds of apple trees in our area.

An even closer shot. So beautiful!

I spent several minutes snapping one picture after another, trying to get a close-up of one of those industrious little fellows, but they moved so quickly (and sometimes, admittedly, I was pointed at the wrong flower), gathering their pollen and then buzzing off to the next blossom, that I couldn't seem to catch one on film.

No matter how many photos I shot, I couldn't capture even one busy bee!

I don't usually take my camera to work with me, but yesterday I happened to have it on hand because of the special annual event taking place at the our high school football field yesterday morning. Every year, in April, Blue Ridge hosts the BR Games, a local Special Olympics event for the special young athletes of our community and neighboring towns. It's a big deal. Classes are released to fill the stands with cheering students, alongside members of the community.

The Special Olympics athletes compete in the softball throw at BR Games.
21 April 2016

One of the especially cool things about the BR Games is the fact that it gives the youth at our school an opportunity to provide service by helping the sweet-spirited athletes at their events throughout the morning. My son Dylan, who is a senior this year, has been a volunteer for the BR Games every one of his four years at Blue Ridge High. And every year he falls in love with the young athlete to whom he is assigned. 

In fact, all three of my kids (and their dad) have always had a sweet spot in their hearts for children with disabilities and love spending time with them. It's one of the many things that make me so pleased and proud to be their mom.

Dylan and his clipboard on the field with co-officer Mary Lawrence,
keeping an eye on the events and making sure the BR Games ran smoothly.

This year, Dylan's involvement went even deeper when he was elected to be one of the officers in charge of planning, organizing, and carrying out this year's BR Games. He was involved from the start and then, yesterday, he spent almost six hours doing his part to manage the event. By the time he came to my room at the end of fourth period to return a fan he'd borrowed for the announcer's box, he was quite sunburned (too busy to put on sunscreen, he said).

I didn't think to take a picture of the stands filled with fans,
but you can see that even the area in front of the stands was packed!

Today I got a call from Barb Goza, the teacher who sponsors and puts on this event every year. She told me how valuable Dylan was as an officer this year, how he took charge and made sure everything under his purview went smoothly, including managing the people assigned to work under him. Not only was he awesome at the games yesterday, she said, but he had even come to her two days before the event to discuss several areas where he saw potential problems so they could troubleshoot them ahead of time. She was very impressed with his leadership skills and said she has no doubt he has a bright future ahead of him.

As Dylan's mother, I already knew he had all these great qualities, of course, but it's so nice to hear it from someone else who has witnessed his talents in action. Way to go, my son. You make me proud!

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