When the family takes our annual trip to the University of Maryland, we close out the weekend with breakfast at our favorite diner and a trip to the university bookstore. We go to the bookstore with a plan. In the week leading up to the trip, we have brainstormed what new Maryland clothing or Maryland swag Dude might need. When we arrive, we fan out in search of a gold, long-sleeved t-shirt or a new pair of sweatpants or a new baseball hat.
Mom is the most thorough of our group. Soon enough, she has Dad’s arms laden with clothing for Dude. She moves on to the baseball hat section and appears to be putting every single hat on Dude’s non-accommodatingly large head. 90% of them are too small.
Dude is a champ. He doesn’t resist at all as hats are plopped on his head and shirts and pants are held up to his body for size comparison. The bookstore is hot. I tend to run the coldest in the group, and even I’m sweating. Dude must be dying, I think. But he’s pleasant as ever.
By this point, I’ve been sent over to the cashier at least twice to ask questions about return policies and whether such and such product comes in such and such size. He’s eying us somewhat warily, apparently amused that we seem to have touched every product in the store. We’ve been here for 45 minutes.
Dad and I are fading.
“We’ve looked at everything,” I whine (I’m more of a get in, get out shopper). “Can we just pay already?”
“I want to look over there at the pennants!” Mom announces. She marches off with Dude in tow.
We give her a few minutes before we follow.
We find her standing in the pennants section, but she isn’t looking at them. She’s looking at Dude with an “uh oh” look on her face.
It’s a banner with the words of the Maryland Victory Song. Dude’s favorite song.
He extends his arm towards it and looks at Mom and Dad with an expression that says, “Can I? Can I PLEASE have it? Please? Pretty please? I want it! I need it! IT’S THE MARYLAND VICTORY SONG. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.”
Mom hesitates and lowers her voice to talk to me and Dad, “That would make a really good Christmas present. Maybe you can get this for him when you come down again in December?”
“Are you joking?” I ask. “It’s the only thing he has sought out himself in the store today! Just let him get it now.”
Mom and Dad relent. Dude is victorious. He gets his banner and clutches it in his hand. He only separates with it so the cashier can ring it up.