Friday, October 07, 2005

The Rubber Bracelet

Rae, my child, had a traumatic experience at school a few days ago.

I was in charge of taking the pup to school that fateful day. It was Friday. Not just any Friday, but homecoming Friday for the local school district. The buzz of excitement spread throughout the school system all the way down to the kindergarteners. As students entered their elementary school, they were met by a cornucopia of temptations spread out across a table. The astronomically priced knick-knacks were selling like proverbial hot cakes and children as young as my daughter snatched up pom-poms, buttons, rubber bracelets and temporary tattoos.

My child, with her silken blonde pony tail and big blue eyes looked at me.

“Da-Da,” she said, because that is what she calls me. “I want a bracelet and pom-poms.”

Knowing that all this promotional junk is a cash cow for whoever is selling it, I generally try to stay away from such things. However, it is difficult to say no to the offspring so I walk up to the table and pull out my wallet. I was fortunate, however, in that the ladies working at the table knew my wife, who teaches at the school, and said she had already come by to get some things.

I put my wallet back in my pocket and my child and I headed off down the fourth-grade hall to find mama. Sure enough, Rae was met by a set of pom-poms and a few tattoos. It wasn’t until later that I found out she was supposed to have a rubber bracelet and button as well.

Rae came home that afternoon with a sad look in her eye. I listened as she and my wife told me that my wife had also purchased the other items and had left them at Rae’s spot in her kindergarten class. However, by the time Rae reached her seat, the items were gone. Some sticky fingered kindergartener had absconded with my daughter’s stuff.

As tears welled up in Rae’s eyes I was hit with an idea.

“Rae,” I said, because that is not really what I call her. “What if I get you another bracelet?”

She looked hopeful.

“Only this one,” I continued, “will be a better one because it will be for the Queens, not the Bulldogs.”

One of Rae’s favorite activities is to go to basketball games with her dad, wearing her cheerleader outfit and cheering at the top of her voice … “Go, Queens! Go, E----!” E----, of course, being the young lady who babysits Rae on occasion.

A few days later I called the coach and explained the situation to him. He and his assistant gladly agreed to give my child another bracelet. Rae was so proud of it. I kept her at my office one afternoon and she proudly showed her knew bracelet to everyone in the building. “It’s a Queen one,” she said.

As we left work that day, Rae sat in the Jeep and expressed her gratitude for the new bracelet.

“And Da-Da,” she said. “I will give you one that you can wear. … but you will have to get it for me.”

Oh well, I guess it’s the thought that counts.

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