This will be a big weekend at Bedlam Farm. My daughter Emma and Robin, my granddaughter are coming Thursday, staying over the weekend, and the RISSE soccer team – refugee and immigrant children from all over the world – will be coming Saturday.
I'm making no plans for Emma and Robin, other than that they relax and maybe go to pizza night at the new Round House and take a stroll down Main Street sometime. I think they both need to rest and experience some donkeys, sheep and affectionate dogs and barn cats.
I haven't seen Robin in months, she has changed quite a bit. She talks a bit, stands up and seems game for almost anything, she has already been all over New York City. I've got a car seat, high chair, crib, baby monitor, eco-friendly diapers and wipes, bananas, cheerios and fruit. Got some toys as well.
I have this feeling she will love the donkeys, but we'll see. She can love whatever she wishes, or none of it. I think Emma could use some help and some rest. I'd love for her to leave refreshed and ready again for the big city.
Saturday afternoon, the RISSE (refugee and immigrant support center of Albany) soccer team, 16 players strong, will arrive in a van around 1 p.m.
Ali (Ahmad Abdullah Mohammed), their teacher and driver and coach, will be shepherding them all. My plan is for them to see Red and Fate work the sheep, meet the donkeys, see Maria's studio. We have a healer friend who might make it to talk to them about stress and movement.
After an hour or so, we'll head over to Pompanuck Farm where they eat some fresh, healthy and gourmet pizza from Scott and Lisa Carrino and the Round House, they are donating some of the cost to the kids, and thanks. The kids will eat and then ride down the big hill to Bejosh Farm where Ed and Carol Gulley will meet them with cows and ice cream and talk about how a dairy farm works.
Ed is memorable, they will not soon forget him. I'll be taking photos.
Many of these kids grew up in refugee camps, and few of them have been outside of Albany much since they got here. This visit is something of a dry run, in July and August, another 90 kids will come, one group at a time, on Tuesdays and Thursdays through July and August.
This will be a test of timing and practicality and to see what they like and enjoy the most. I hope it will be a special time for them, it will certainly be a special time for us. How great to have my daughter and granddaughter here as well, Emma is eager to participate and help out. I have this feeling the kids will love Robin and vice versa.
This trip will be at no cost to RISSE or the kids, and Scott and I will work out an arrangement for the pizza for Saturday and for the summer. He is eager to help, and he and Lisa have very big hearts. I am very pleased that people in our town are eager to meet them and show what it means to have a community, and also show them that we do not believe they have come to harm us in any way.
If there's time, I'd love to take them into the book store, but the schedule is already tight..
I'm excited, I hope they feel as welcome as they are and get a look at the true spirit of America, we are a land of big hearts, open spaces generous hearts.
(Tomorrow, I'm going a talk and reading at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, N.Y., from 6 to 8 p.m. I'm leaving Red, he's still recovering.)