By Chastity Harris - firstname.lastname@example.org
Great quests have taken place over this past summer. Life-altering decisions have been made. That's right: swimsuit season. Magazines dedicated thousands of pages to tips and tricks for finding "your perfect suit."
You gentlemen might compare this to hunting down your ideal lawn mower, the biggest, baddest model that will give your yard that Wrigley Field look.
The strategy is to walk a fine line between shopping early, when selection is best, and waiting for the first sale of the season, so you don't pay full price.
Then you must deal with the sea of options available: halter top, boy shorts, zero turn, 50-inch deck, horizontal stripes. All 4,783 magazine articles will tell you horizontal stripes are going to make you look wider. Who on earth wants that?
If you're not careful, you could end up looking like a plus-size version of your Great-Granny Gertrude mowing the back forty with a push mower.
What happens when you can't find what you're looking for? Despite mighty shopping marathons and Internet searches into the wee hours of the night, you've come up empty handed. Do you settle for second best? You could just wait it out another year. Or, do you come up with a new solution?
The perspective changes a little bit when children are involved. My son, bless him, follows in my husband's genetic footsteps. I had rather hoped my kids would get a height boost from my side of the family, but so far it is not to be. My oldest just fits into a size-eight dress pant, and when I say "just" I mean it won't button past October.
For his Sunday best we tried eight styles and four purchases. The best fitting pair was only 4 inches past his toes. I'm contemplating dusting off my mom's old sewing machine and my equally dusty sewing skills.
That was a search that ended in compromise, but sometimes in the world of childhood that won't do. Take, for instance, in second grade when students were to build their own native American housing model. My son made a beautifully painted paper bag teepee with weeds from our yard as prairie grass.
It was A-plus quality work, but little Jim Bob's dad had gathered real sticks from the woods to make a fire ring, and Jim Bob's mom glued plastic cowboys and Indians around his teepee. What did Jim Bob actually do on this project?
The gauntlet had been thrown. There was no way we were turning in a teepee without plastic Indians. The quite obvious point we were missing is that this type of play is no longer considered politically correct. After searching through every gift shop, gas station and toy aisle in a three county radius, I was hysterically beginning to wonder if I could pass off ninjas and firefighters without my son noticing.
When there, in a dusty corner of a dollar store, was the last known pack of cowboys and Indians in existence. I grasped them to my chest and dashed for the register like I had found the last role of Charmin Ultra Soft two-ply after Armageddon. My son would not know disappointment this day!
Interesting how the drive to succeed in a quest changes per individual. I'm only patient for so long before I start coming up with new creative solutions. My husband, on the other hand, will keep searching and searching until he finds exactly what he's looking for. That's how he got such a great wife. If it's not a big deal, he'll take the first thing that comes along. That's how we got his last truck. Or do I have those two things backwards?
Maybe that's the way we should take on life, too. This is the path we're creating for ourselves. Why just settle when you could be out finding what you really want. Whether it's more time with your kids, a spiritual make-over, or a new career path, go on that quest. Create a solution or hunt it down.
After all, you don't want a ninja outside your teepee do you?
Chastity Harris is a Shenandoah County native. With the help of her husband of 13 years, she juggles three kids, a full-time job, and a yard full of chickens. Email her at email@example.com.