Thanks to the generosity of staff and parents in the Chemong P.S. Community, here is a photo record of my completely unexpected Olympic Torch Run in Bridgenorth ON on December 16th. Special thanks to Don and Johanna Genge, to Chantal Bailey, Chemong's dauntless new V.P., her student photo crew, and to Elaine Flett-Hurst, our Principal, who came with tears in her eyes to pass this opportunity on to me.
Off the van at "location #039" -- Bridgenorth's main roadway at Gore St -- right in front of the Chemong Public School staff and parents!
WONDERFUL to see them, and then especially surprised and touched to suddenly notice one of our dads standing there as well, just released from hospital and still ill with life-threatening health problems, but braving the snow and cold to see the Olympic Flame go by.
Such is the power of the Flame . . .
that I'd be standing here right now, doing THIS!?!"
"What did you say?!?
I have to run to WHERE?!?"
And as the noisy, boisterous RBC and Coca Cola float trucks arrive leading the celebrations, I'm caught by surprise as their cheering volunteers come over and congratulate me as they go by!
...and that good-looking guy behind me comes up and surprises me with a great big warm hug! Hey! All right!
The torch comes into sight, and one of our parents gets right out into the street for a perfect picture -- the RCMP try to move her back, but she's not budging until she gets her perfect shot. And it was worth it!
(photo to be posted when I get a digital copy)
The Lighting of Torch #039
... as #038 officially
passes on the Olympic Flame
... and we celebrate by doing a little jig!
And then I'm off and running with the Torch,
very deeply honoured....
but especially thrilled
to be able to share the moment
with 500 young crazily excited, cheering,
and all our school staff,
and our families,
Even taking a moment to
ponder the Olympic Flame...
...humbling to know what it stands for ...that it has been carried all the way from Greece ....and that the next time I see it, it will be in the hands of someone, being carried into the Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver, on its way to lighting Canada's Olympic Cauldron where it will burn and shine brightly throughout the 2010 Winter Games for all the world to see.
Pure snowy excitement!
Simon Whitfield's Olympic Gold Medal Coach,
and the RCMP/security folks and the Keeper of the Olympic Flame
keep a careful watch on everything
while Bridgenorth gives an official Welcome and sings a rousing "Oh Canada".
And finally, back to school, to all the kids and staff and parents who were awaiting a chance to see and touch and hold the Olympic Torch for themselves.
I'm surprised to find that some think I'm not going to let them touch it -- but that's what I got it for!!! I want them to take a look at it up close, and to hold it, and carry it, and know they've held an Olympic Torch in their very own hands, and spark a thought that some day they could find themselves doing something unimaginable like this, too...
into Bridgenorth and Chemong PS's lap,
and I will always treasure the honour and extreme excitement
of being able to carry the Olympic Flame in those moments that day.