Last weekend a friend sent me a text from the Heinz Museum, and we met to discuss the day that she and her husband had just experienced. You see, their daughter-in-law was in charge of a major event that, had I been more observant, would quite possibly have been the most awesome experience of my youngest grandson’s life. Yeah, he’s only 19 months old, but Pete’s primary obsession can only be described as all encompassing. He is completely obsessed with vehicles: buses, cars, lawn mowers, ambulances, but most of all trucks. Let’s face it, he’s probably not unique in his love of these things, but, compared to the other five kids, he’s the most attached, the most enthralled, the most enamored by them.
If you give him a choice of fifteen different types of toys, he makes a beeline directly to the cars and trucks. He insists that I let him sit on my lap in the car so that he can pretend to drive and then he proceeds to jack up every dial and control in the entire car. He hears a vehicle and screams tru or ka-r. He runs to the window every time a vehicle comes near, and when he’s strapped in his child seat, a.k.a. restraint cage, he tries to rip out the seat belts if he sees a school bus or a big truck. This kid should be in someone’s automobile ads. I guarantee you he’d sell more vehicles than any 12 screaming old men or sexy young ladies.
So, back to the event that I missed. It was called something like “Touch a Truck.” The Junior League of Pittsburgh sponsors activities like American Girl Fashion Shows and Touch a Truck. They should describe them as Heaven on Earth for little kids. Seriously, Pete would have had to have two diapers if I had known about this earlier and taken him there.
These wonderful folks bring every type of vehicle they can get their hands on to Smallman Street in Pittsburgh, and then they let the kids literally have at it. There were ambulances, fire trucks, cement trucks, dump trucks, front loaders, you name it. All I could think about was “Why should the kids in Pittsburgh be the only ones to enjoy American Girl fashion shows and Touch a Truck events?”
I don’t want to wait until next year for Pete and all of my American Girl-owning granddaughters to get to experience the joys of childhood in such a great way.
It’s funny, however, when you suggest something like this as a fundraiser. Even at $15 a person, this would seem to be a serious money maker, but everyone I’ve mentioned it to has scattered like roaches when the Orkin guy enters the room. I expected to see every nonprofit in need of funds to look like dogs waiting at the door with their ears perked up every time they hear a sound. This lack of enthusiasm is probably because they have been burned too many times by too many ideas that the presenter thinks is the greatest idea in the world. Can a friend raiser really be a good fundraiser?
We all know that when our kids and grandkids are concerned, there are no barriers to entry. People practically mortgage their homes to take their kids to Disneyworld, why not a truck touching, doll fashion show day? Every little boy wants to drive a truck and every girl between the ages of five and 10 would gladly dress up their prize dolls for an event like this.
Come on. Twenty phone calls and a volunteer group of 15 people could pull either or both of these events off with ease. It only takes some creativity, a little donated space, a heck of a lot of liability insurance and, of course, some alcohol. (Hopefully, the alcohol would be for after the event.)