Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mancub's Angels

I've spent this entire week writing about my son's endeavor to raise money for Easter Seals. His goal was easily reached. Hooray! That in itself is cause for celebration, don't you think?

Today was the day of the telethon. Mancub woke up and immediately gathered his clothes and headed for the shower. He didn't even eat first. Hygiene was a high priority. We weren't to report to the telethon site until 2:30 p.m. It was only 11:00 when he excitedly clomped down the stairs. I suggested he take it easy and he insisted he wanted to be prepared. Who am I to argue?

The weather has been questionable, as of late. We've had lots of rain and threats of flooding. Yuck! The sky was alternating gloomy to partly sunny. I knew rain was in the forecast. No biggy! We won't melt.

As we got our things together to leave the house, it happened. The wind had already been picking up and gusting, but it was the sound of tornado sirens that set us both into a slump of disappointment. The sky was black and Aroma Park was the center of the warning on the Weather Channel. Greeaaat.

The clouds were moving quickly toward the northeast. There wasn't more than a slight drizzle, but the high winds made it seem more intense.

We forged ahead. By the time we got our seat belts buckled, the sky split open like a pinata and rain pummeled the car like hard candies. We were less than a mile away from the house and I decided the strong gusts that made the rain go sideways was just too much and not worth the risk of our safety. I turned the Saturn around.

Upon pulling the car into the garage, I noticed Mancub's face expressed mixed emotions. On one hand he didn't want to be in the threatening weather. On the other hand, he didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to help Easter Seals even more. Guilt sunk deeply within me, but our safety had to take the front seat.

We ran into the house and briefly discussed our options. The tornado warning was in effect until 3:00 p.m. That's when his school club was to take over manning the phones. I kept my eyes on the sky. Within minutes the sky was a glorious shade of blue beneath the towering, fluffy white clouds. The rain continued to fall. Hmmmm

Mancub had sunk into the couch. I asked a couple of times what he was feeling. Again, his emotions were mixed and just felt an overall sense of being defeated.
No sirens blew again. The sky remained clear. No extension on the tornado warning was issued.

"C'mon! Get your shoes on. Let's do this thing," I declared.

With giddiness, he slipped on his shoes and off we went. He was worried that we'd be reporting late. I insisted they wouldn't care. The idea was about community and showing up.

We made our way to the information table. There was a lot going on all around. On stage was the community youth choir. The Beta Club had taken their places at the phones. Our goal was to turn in our pledge money and help if necessary. Our situation was relayed to a couple of women before it met the ears of someone in charge. I told them how Mancub had a Champion page on the Easter Seals website along with the cash, checks and promised pledge sheet we turned in. She was incredibly impressed especially when I shared with her that several of the pledges were from people we'd never met, but had learned about his efforts via this blog. With that, she turned and said, "get one of the big yellow checks." She turned back to us and asked if we'd be willing to make an ON AIR check presentation. I shook my head no, "this is his hour."

Mancub would go on local television at the top of the hour. They asked us to sit in front row of the spectator seats. We did. His Beta Club sponsor flagged him over to take a phone. I tried mouthing to her that we were waiting for him to be called up to make his presentation. She got up and we told her of our weather dilemma. Thankfully, she understood. With a high-five, she congratulated him for his online fund raising.
Around the top of the hour (4:00 p.m.) one of the organizers came over to tell us how it would all play out. Then, the host came by to verify his name and how he raised the amount written on the check. With that, Mancub told him he didn't know what he was going to say or if he'd be able to contain his nervousness. He was reassured that all would be fine ... that was until Mancub learned Miss Champaign-Urbana would be next to him during the presentation. A lovely, petite blond who was very well composed during her interview with the hosts.

Once her moment in the spotlight ended, the man speaking to us (I believe he's a major organizer) busted in "Wait! WAIT!!! I have a young man who'd like to make a presentation with a check!"

It was Mancub's cue. He nervously walked in front of the bright lights and television cameras. With a big grin on his face he gained his composure. While standing directly next to the beauty queen, he shook hands and handed the check over. He spoke briefly. I fought back tears and snapped a photo. But I missed the most important shot! Miss Champaign-Urbana HUGGED HIM ON AIR!!! The host came over and asked if I'd managed a shot and I told him I hadn't. Graciously, the poised queen let me take a photo of them together. For her own scrapbook, she handed me her camera! She thanked Mancub for being selfless and raising money for one of her favorite charities. He beamed and sweated. His giggle was nearly drowned out by my own.
The Hawaiian shirted host informed Mancub that there were 3 other beauty queens around who'd probably love to thank him, as well. With embarrassment and a sweaty upper lip, he requested we just leave.

As we made our way down the hallway, we were stopped by various people congratulating him. I felt my own face on fire with radiance of pride. One of the hosts found us and insisted there were 4 ladies who'd love to have a photo taken with a champion. Yep! Miss Illinois, Miss Kankakee, Miss Champaign-Urbana (again) and another breathtaking beauty with a tiara. I apologize for not being able to recall her title.

Before he could decline, I said accepted!

There's a lot to be said for being on time. I'm usually punctual if not fashionably early. However, in this instance, I am overjoyed that fate had other plans and detained us.

11 comments:

  1. Fantastic, love the photos! Congratulations to the ManCub!

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  2. I'm sooo happy for you Mancub! You exceeded your goal, got to present your check on~air with Miss Champaign-Urbana, & pose with all the other Beauty Queens. You're quite the "Ladie's Mancub!"

    What a wonderful day! What a wonderful memory!

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  3. I have determined that Mancub needs a rap name to match his intense coolness- he will henceforth be known as LLCoolSpence...."ladies love cool Spense". (I know his name is Spenser, but somehow Spense sounds like a better rap name!) :)

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  4. Thank you everybody! It was really a stellar day after all.

    Sherrie, Spenser loves his rap name! I often call him Spen or Spense, so it works.

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  5. Awesome! I was bummed out right alongside you with the storm clouds... but what a beautiful March day it turned out to be!! Congrats to you both!! XO

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  6. LLCoolSpense is da MAN!(cub)

    I think Mancub just grew up--
    into LLCoolSpense

    Cool rap name Sherrie! >> FOR A COOL DUDE

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  7. Yay! Congrats ManCub -- you are awesome!!

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  8. I am so happy for both of you! Mancub looks like he is ready to burst he is so happy!

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  9. I probably would call him fiddy-Spence. Your boy's got the hookup, he needs to share. He gets mad style points for the pics.

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  10. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story :)

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