Taking a bow


Last night I searched the town high and low for a hair bow.

This was problematic because:

  • Walmart didn’t have one
  • Kmart didn’t have one
  • Sally’s Beauty Supply didn’t have one
  • Hibbet Sports didn’t have one
  • It occurred to me after stop No. 4 that “hair bow” is subject to numerous interpretations in the South

The thing had to be pink. That was all the detail I was given on a half-sheet of paper by the woman organizing my daughter’s cheerleading clinic, which ended this evening with a performance at a middle school football game. The participants also needed black athletic shorts, white or black tennis shoes and black ankle socks.

(Kalista told me they needed pink eye shadow too. However, I debunked this as fictitious shortly thereafter. She did not get eye shadow.)

The shoes, shorts and socks were easy, although the search for these also yielded Kalista a new winter coat, desk lamp and candy corn I hadn’t intended to buy. But store after store had only pony tail holders, barrettes and contraptions I could not identify. I had something that looked like a ribbon tied in a bow on the brain.

Then it hit me: I need to buy ribbon and tie it in a bow.

No, I thought. They would have just called it “ribbon” on the paper.

Then I remembered what I’ve always known as “head bands” are called “hair bows” by some folks in the South.

Some folks. What if these cheerleading people aren’t those folks?

Store to store we went, asking clerks and uninterested associates for pink “hair bows.” Some directed us to hair bands, some recommended the ribbon in the craft section (which terrified me because the last time I tied a ribbon in her hair, it was far too “functional” and likely caused permanent damage to the base of the pony tail region).

Exhausted, following 90 minutes of unwanted shopping after a day of work, an appointment and cheerleading practice, we returned to Walmart willing to buy anything pink in the hair accessory section. My plan was to send her to the game with all of the stuff and let the cheerleading coach pick her poison.

“Here’s one!” Kalista exclaimed, picking up a pink bow barrette from the giant junk drawer-looking mess at the bottom of the display rack.

Frantically, nearly hysterically, I looked for its packaging so there wouldn’t be any trouble at the cash register paying for it. You know how these things go at Walmart – if there’s no barcode, there’s no way it’s leaving the store. It’d be a real shame if they just rang it up as a miscellaneous item and came up with a number – say, $3 in this case – to charge.

Of course I couldn’t find the packaging. Of course. The pink bow likely came in a multipack and someone needed one of another color that came with it. So he or she likely tore the packaging to shreds to remove the desired bow, leaving me in this mess.

“I don’t know if this is the same bow,” the cashier with frizzy poodle hair and 13 teeth stated, holding the pack of similar bows I’d brought to the register with the pink bow.

The following 13 minutes were a real mess. It involved other cashiers, a manager and a customer service representative. But we somehow got the bow. I had to convince the manager it was from a particular three-pack, although I knew it wasn’t. I’m pretty sure he did, too.

“Thank you, Daddy.”

The sun was down. We hadn’t had dinner and I was starving. Still had laundry and the usual housework to do when we (finally) got home. I did not want to be there at that time, in that situation.

But Kalista’s gratitude reminded me what I’d lost in the frustration, aggravation and exhaustion. I thought back on the shopping trip that wasn’t supposed to be an adventure. She’d been smiling the whole time. When she found her bow, she was excited. To her, we had accomplished a goal together and had a lot of fun doing it.

Every night at the conclusion of her “now I lay me down to sleep” rendition, we both thank Jesus for something from our day. Hers was having the dog sleep on her bed.

Mine was shopping for a pink hair bow.

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