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Back to school shopping, Army style

Submitted by on Monday, 2 August 2010 No Comment

New crayons are cool, and being promoted to a big-kid notebook was the bomb for Big Guy.

But the big buzz of back-to-school shopping was the new buzz cuts and the new Army gear. Yes, now that the guys have replacement uniforms, class can begin.

The tradition started last year, when we stopped in the uniform store for socks for Dad and the guys saw the itty bitty Army Combat Uniforms. They’d wanted one since the previous spring when we were at Dad’s Basic Combat Training graduation, but the PX at that post didn’t have any in Big Guy’s size.

Fast forward to Fort Irwin, where they had Big Guy’s size but Boots swam in the smallest model. We bought it anyway, plus a pair of pricey jeans that we needed only because they came with a belt.

Big Guy wore his constantly – to school, shopping and on vacations. It didn’t have Velcro patches to attach name tags, so I was constantly re-Sharpie-ing his shirt.

Big Guy’s uniform held up until late spring, when a tiny hole appeared in the pocket just below the knee. It quickly turned into a bigger hole as Big Guy tried to increase the damage in hopes of getting a new set. His plan didn’t work, not even when he managed to rip out most of the leg. I was ready to rip his leg off because he’d deprived Boots of a precious hand-me-down.

“Nope. You’ll get a new pair when we go back-t0-school shopping,” I said.

The day we got back from vacation, we had to go to the post office. Which is dangerously near the uniform story.

“Momma, please can we get a new uniform?” pleaded Big Guy, who always calls me Momma when he wants something. “School starts next week. Pleeeeeeease.”

It was close enough that I agreed.

Apparently ACUs are so last year, though. We left instead with a flight suit, complete with Velcro patches that we can attach names to. Our next stop was the monogram store, where we had the name tags made.

It was 106 that day but Big Guy insisted on wearing the flight suit when we left to meet friends at the pool. He packed his bathing suit in his new backpack – it’s digicam, of course – and said he’d change clothes when we got there.

His friends were appropriately impressed even though Big Guy was sweating M16 rounds. “Ooooh, neat!” she said. “I want Army clothes, too!”

I hope the uniform store has stocked up for back to school.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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