Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bad luck, good people

We were slated to go see the Magna Carta today. It was a homeschool group trip, so we headed to the subway at about 9:00 to allow ample time to get there by 10:15. The train went one stop and promptly... stopped. It stopped for a long time. At first we were told there was an emergency a couple of stations ahead (I'm okay with emergencies; a heart attack takes precedence over my field trip any day), but then it turned out to be the usual train with mechanical difficulties. I always think that description sounds a bit like it belongs in an IEP or something.

As the minutes ticked and ticked and ticked past, it soon became clear that our chances of getting downtown in time were going to be small. We were all sad. The kids kept asking if we'd make it, and sometime after we finally started moving again I looked at the time and said, "No, we're not going to get there before they start." When we emerged from the train, still a 15-minute walk from our destination, it was 10:42. Pooh.

I was all for going to Plan B (whatever that was), but Snuggler was indignant. "We can't give up without even trying, Mom! Can't we try?" I hadn't known the Magna Carta meant so much to her. I hadn't even been sure she knew what the Magna Carta was.

So we meandered a bit further south, looking at other good and interesting things on the way. It started to rain. We headed toward the museum, mostly just to show the kids where it was and what it looked like. As we approached, Dancer said, "Hey, look! There's our group!" They'd just come out of the tour.

I crossed the street to proffer my apologies for our absence to the woman who coordinated the trip. She said, "It was a great trip. But you know, the docent said that if anyone else from our group came and wanted to see the Magna Carta, they could. Let me check!"

There are some pretty strict rules on how many people can be in the viewing room at once, and unfortunately the last school group of the day didn't have room for four more people. The docent came back and said, "Oh, you really have to see it! So this is what we'll do. I'm going to assign you a guard, and you can go in the back way. You just take your time looking at the rest of the museum (which is closed to the public), and then when this group comes out we'll slip you right in before we close."

How amazing is that? There's someone in this big, tough world who wants as many kids to see the Magna Carta as want to see it, and who's willing to do something a little unusual to make it happen. So we had a private tour, and plenty of time, and then we had the Magna Carta all to ourselves.


  1. Don't you just love those New York serendipity moments? So glad you got in after all!

    Laura A.