Stevie Jr. arrived at the breakfast table in his usual outfit of late – shorts, two-toned horizontally striped shirt, and a coon-skin cap. I don’t believe that I’ve seen the top of his head for weeks. Stevie and his pals were all wearing these furry-tailed hats everywhere. This always prompted a dilemma at the table. Steve doesn’t think that males should wear hats at the table. Previously, Stevie would always take his ball cap off and hang it on the coat hook by the door when he came in to eat. This coon hat never left his head though. I’m not against young boys playing and dressing like heroes, but I didn’t want to turn Stevie into a miscreant by allowing him to do as he pleased either.
I’ve always prided myself on my ability to choose my battles. When I was younger, I was well behaved and always listened to Mother’s directions. My teachers could always count on my for knowing the right answer and I always completed my lessons. I worked during the war like most young women; I thought it was fun to get paid to hostess at a club owned by a friend of the family, and learned how to do simple accounting by keeping up with the receipts for the business before my hostessing shift. I worked hard because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I thought maybe that I had short-changed myself by not continuing my education since I seemed to have a natural ability to keep the numbers in the right columns. Unlike anyone else, the owner counted on me and my business ability to help him run his club. Steve didn’t mind that I worked at the club, and he sometimes bragged that his “girl” had a more glamourous job than those who ended up in manufacturing plants. After we married, I left the club and started our family. I don’t remember discussing that decision; I think that I just didn’t want to start a battle about working instead of keeping house.
That’s why it hard to decide whether to tell Junior to take off the cap at the table. He likes it, and it looks cute on him. I looked at his face as I placed his breakfast of bacon and eggs in front of him. He looked up at me and smiled. That few seconds felt longer than normal. He looks more like Steve everyday. I turned to the icebox to pour a glass of milk and heard his chair scrape against the floor. I turned to see Junior placing his cap on the coat hook by the door. I poured his milk and placed the glass down in front of him. Junior ate his breakfast and then headed toward the back door. He grabbed his coon-skin cap, turned back to look at me, smiled and thanked me for the meal. Maybe playing and dressing like a hero is good for him. Or maybe he has learned how to pick his battles.