Thursday from 2pm to 8pm JediOKC, the Oklahoma City based collectors/costuming club got together at Journey Church in Norman Oklahoma to throw a benefit with many other organizations to provide a family night for the workers and all the children effected by the Moore Oklahoma tornado that ripped through Moore back in May.
Ryan McKinley and I arrived first, he in his Darth Vader costume and me in my Ghostbusters gear, and we soon got to work playing the crowd, taking pictures with people and generally hamming it up. Soon many of our other members arrived. We had a Merida from Brave and a Belle from Beauty and the Beast and another Ghostbuster so that I wouldn’t be trooping alone. R2-D2 also made an appearance, a fully working, fully animated droid that rolls around, spins his head about, and utters his signature sounds.
Soon there were many people there of local note, namely the Oklahoma City Thunder Cheerleaders and the OKC Barons Ice Girls…and then the Briarwood Elementary kids arrived.
The lines were forming to meet the cheerleaders, but the kids brought their yearbooks with them and were approaching us with pens for autographs. At first, I didn’t really know what to write, but I got into character pretty quickly, writing things like “That monster under your bed? Took care of it. Trapped it yesterday.” and “There was a class 4 free roaming repeater in your yard yesterday. Real nasty one, too. You’ll get the bill in the mail…Just kidding!” The little girls had their plastic princess crowns in their hair, and all of them wanted pictures with our Disney princesses, and R2-D2 was the biggest hit (as always) rolling around and chirping his electronic greetings.
All the while I’m thinking about these children returning to school this August and what kind of experience that might be for them. As a parent, I would think it might be a hard thing, but these kids didn’t seem that phased, then of course they are kids. Children have an amazing gift to move on after hardship. These children probably won’t be able to really grasp what has happened to their community until they are much older, but it was our hope that by throwing this benefit for them that they would be able to have some happy memories of this year that might drown out the awfulness that was the Moore tornado.
I hope that we made a difference, and it was such a joy to see them smiling as they handed us their yearbooks for us to sign. As you send your children back to school this August (or September) think about the children of Moore and say a little prayer for them. May we all have a safe school season.