Clayton was barely six, Stuart was four, and Davis was not quite two when we took a family trip to Williamsburg, Virginia … love the history … top places ever … spent two days of our honeymoon there. Anyway, so we were on this family vacation taking in the history and having a great time walking until our feet hurt. We still had a stroller, and everyone wanted to get in … even me.
As in any tourist destination, there are always “things” that the tourist simply must have. On this particular trip, the “must-have” was the three-cornered hat. Every kid had one! I wanted mine to have one, too.
“It would make the pictures so much cuter,” I whined, trying to persuade Jeff to buy one … errr, make that three. Let’s just say the ole three-cornered hats times three were going to set us back quite a bit more than had been expected and, so, they did not come to be.
Still, the more we did not have the hats and the more people we saw with the hats, the greater the desire for the hats became. We went about our day. We took tons of pictures. We had lots of fun, but not having the three-cornered hats continued to rear its ugly head.
Fast forward several days to where we were back at our beach house taking in the surf, sand, and shell collecting.
Jeff observed, “You know, the three-cornered hats would really look silly about now.” And we laughed at the silliness of how important they had seemed in the “Williamsburg moment.”
Fast forward fourteen years into the future. Clayton is only weeks away from being twenty. We are at West Point for Plebe Parent Weekend (PPW).The “must-have” of this trip … the official standard-issue wool parka with the “USMA 12” patch sewn over the heart. It’s a parka made by the West Point uniform factory and only Cadets, Old Grads, and parents are allowed to have them. So exclusive.
Jeff had planned in advance to purchase the parka. (“Parka” is just not a term we would use in the South. Is it Yankee-ease or traditional WP-ease? I don’t know. “Parkas” to a Southern mind are worn only by Eskimos in Alaska, but this one is navy blue thick wool with a zip-down-the-middle hood.) Thus, he had not packed a coat knowing that his new official West Point parka would keep him warm. And it was a very cold day to our thin Southern blood.
I simply could not justify the $90 times two, so I unselfishly allowed Jeff to make the parka purchase.
However, I still wanted one … REAL badly. When they were stitching on the “USMA 12” patch, I almost caved to the desire. But, I wisely revisited the “Three-Cornered Hat Principle.” I pictured both Kinley parents showing up at high school football games both wearing the USMA 12 parkas and I knew it would be like being on the beach with the three-cornered hat and a bathing suit.
On the other hand, I knew if I couldn’t wear a USMA 12 parka to an army football game, then I should probably stay at home. “How many Army football games will you be attending?” I asked myself. (Maybe one … if I am fortunate.)
Many comments throughout the weekend were made by husband as to how warm and toasty he was because of his magical, new parka. Every parent had one … many husbands and wives. They were all I could see.
I held firm.
At the airport, they still looked awesome as the parkas would distinguish the WP parents from the crowd.
Today, it was 68 degrees in Little Rock. For now, anyway, the parka’s magic is fading. But, it looks great in the pictures …