One phone call
Published May 31, 2006
Just one phone call.
That’s all it took to get me to spend the first Saturday morning of the summer in a dunking booth.
But it wasn’t just any phone call. It was a phone call from Fred Aguilar.
In addition to his role as president of the West Baytown Civic Association, Fred is quite possibly the nicest guy in Baytown. So when he called to personally invite me and my family to the WBCA End of School Party, I really couldn’t say no. He could invite me to a tractor pull and I’d probably think it sounded like fun.
“My wife and I always enjoy your column,” Fred said when I answered the phone Friday.
That, my friends, is known as “The Butter-Up.” Then, after describing what was planned for Saturday’s event, Fred stepped in for what’s known as “The Kill.”
“And we’re having a dunking booth, if you’d like to volunteer,” he said.
I quickly weighed my options. I could spend Saturday hanging out at home in my jammies. Or I could volunteer my time to help make the day fun for West Baytown kids who have worked really hard in school all year.
“OK,” I said. “I’ll be there.”
Resigned to my fate, I showed up at the tree-shaded Bergeron Park in the heart of West Baytown. The first thing I noticed was the dunking booth, which was surrounded by members of the Baytown Fire Department.
“Oh, great,” I thought. “This thing hasn’t even started yet and someone’s already drowned.”
To my relief, the firefighters were just filling the tank with water. Once it was up and running, Fred — being the great sport that he is — was the first to climb in. He didn’t stay dry very long.
Then it was my turn.
“Attention!” blared a voice on the loudspeaker. “Deana Nall from The Baytown Sun is now in the dunking booth!”
“No!” I wanted to shout. “Don’t come over here! Go get a snow cone! Or get your face painted! Go celebrate the end of school somewhere else!”
But it was too late. They started lining up, and then I saw a ray of hope. Most of them looked like elementary school students.
“I just might stay dry after all,” I thought.
Boy, was I wrong. You wouldn’t believe the throwing arms on some of these kids. One girl, who couldn’t have been older than eight, sent a ball squarely into the dunking booth’s target. That water was cold.
“Little League,” a fellow volunteer explained to me.
Eventually, my turn was over and I climbed out of the tank to walk around and dry off. My husband and two girls were busy taking in the party’s offerings, including moonwalks, train rides and hot dogs. Kids and parents were everywhere. Fred had told me that a couple thousand people usually turn out for this event, which the WBCA has been having for four years now.
West Baytown has some of Baytown’s oldest homes, beautiful churches, and community leaders who care enough about their kids to throw them a free party at the end of the school year — just for fun. This is my kind of neighborhood.
So hang on to my phone number, Fred. I might just get dunked again next year.
Deana Nall lives in Baytown with her family.