We took them there last summer to the zoo, like every summer, but then Nephi and Sam were still learning how to construct sentences and rarely made, or shared rather, observations of their own. Now they do. And it's so blasted fun!
The other day, I had to make a trip down to Hill Air Force Base to get Ben a few supplies for his upcoming drills, Military Ball, and other stuff he just plain needed, like new canteens. He says he cringes every time he has to drink out of an "issued" canteen that he has, which, like all "issued" Army gear, is previously used. "You don't know whose lips has been on this last!" He would say. And go on to explain that they didn't clean it properly or sanitize it very well. One looks like they put milk in it and forgot about it for a week... and so the arguments went. So it was more than worth it to fork out a few bucks and get him a new set.
BUT after we made the hour and a half trip down there, we came to find that the Air Force Base doesn't carry Army gear, only Army ACU stuff (their camo outfits). I asked them why not, I mean they are the only base for several hours! We had driven all the way down from Logan, for crying out loud. They just said that they didn't have the space... urk. Not a good excuse for me and my little guy, Nephi who tagged along for the ride. Sam and Ben were both at school. They then told me that the nearest Army base was in Salt Lake. Great another forty minutes to go, then a long two and a half hours back to Logan.
Now, how much did I love my husband? How much did I care that he has to drink out of a used canteen? Well, I honestly didn't care much about the canteen, but what I DID care about was the buttons he needed to have for his CLASS A's come Military Ball next week. A girl has her priorities! Come on! Who doesn't want to go to a ball, pregnant or not! And who doesn't want their man to look the finest?! My point exactly!
So we stocked up on drinks and treats and off we went for our Salt Lake adventure.
As we pulled off the exit in downtown SL, we had to drive though one of the less desirable areas of town. It's kind of the place for shelters and parks for the homeless. There is also a lot of crime in that area and gang activity. As a child growing up in Salt Lake and a daughter of a cop, I was told plenty of stories to keep me in the car while going though that area... even now I still lock my doors.
We stopped at a stop light and there was a group of homeless guys drinking on the corner. They had the long beards and tattered clothes, and fit the perfect stereo type you see on TV. Nephi saw them from the backseat and started getting excited. I thought he was going to say something about Santa Clause or something like that... but he surprised me he said:
"Mommy look!! It's scary pirates!!!"
It took me by surprise and I could NOT stop laughing! I never would have made that connection... only through a child's eyes... I LOVE having kids!
Anyway, off we go to the base. It turned out the PX (Army supply place or "Post Exchange," if you will) was in this little trailer. Now, I thought, as I pulled in, if the Air Force didn't have room for supplies, how were they going to fit everything in THERE? Once again, as I walked in, I was reminded of the difference between the two branches of the Armed Forces.
Air Force: Well, it just won't fit, I guess... we need to have lots of space for Air Force Class A's and stuff...
Army: Where there is a will, there is a way! Space be damned! YOU WILL FIT THIS GEAR INTO THE TRAILER!
And they did just that! I couldn't believe my eyes when I stepped into the little trailer. Not only were they a convenience store with soda fountains, treats, and car stuff, but they had supplies and uniforms for not only the Army, but Air Force, Navy, and Marines crammed in there. And they even managed to keep everything lined up and orderly. I easily found PT shorts (Physical Training shorts), the canteens (the rounded ones, not those weird square ones the AF uses), the Class A buttons, 550 chord, and even a pre-cut Velcro replacement kit for the ACUs. I was very happy. Even happier when they showed me their restrooms, they had those too!
I also noticed that they carried all the suggested reading material for officers, and even fun clothes for kids and civilians to wear around with Army logos and stuff. I got a key chain.
Then as we were in line checking out, Nephi was looking at the covers of the magazines in the isle. He pointed to one that had this very large, good-looking, black guy on the front. He wasn't wearing a shirt (to show off those big muscles) and he was COVERED in tattoos. Nephi pointed at it, and I thought he was going to say something like, "Where is his shirt?" He always says that when Ben walks around with no top on. But instead he pulled this one out of the bag, unexpectedly: (Note: There were several other people standing around and Nephi does NOT have a quiet voice in the worst moments!)
"Mommy, LOOK!!!! That man is COLORED!" He yelled out.
My initial reaction was: "Where did he hear that!?" I NEVER...!!! He sees people of all different races and colors here on campus every day and NEVER has said anything like that!! I was flabbergasted... but only for a split second... because then I understood. He was talking about the tattoos!!! That man looked like he was "colored" by a crayon or marker! I shocked the man next to me when I started to laugh. He looked at me like I was some kind of horrible mother that teaches my kids to be racist. So I looked at him and said, "He's talking about the tattoos!" He took another look at the magazine, realized what I was saying, and burst out laughing so hard I thought he was going to cry!
Have I mentioned that I love having talking kids? NEVER EVER a dull day!