Today we met our beautiful granddaughter, Mary Poppins and her mom and the other three beautiful grandkids at the mall. It's Mary Poppins' birthday tomorrow. She is turning eight. Next month she will be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Eight is a wondrous age and Mary Poppins is a wonderful little girl. Very loving, smart, sensitive and has the most beautiful eyes you will ever see on a child. She has a good heart which is the best of all her qualities.
Anyway, we were going to buy her a build-a-whatever-she-wanted at the Build-a-Bear store. I had a $5.00 off coupon, which I couldn't find when it was time to go to the store. Coupons have a way of doing that to me. I have them until I need them and then I have-them-not. Until they expire, then I have them again.
Mary Poppins picked a pink spotted leopard, it's name is Pawfect Pink Leopard, it is very cute. Then the lady starts adding things. A Build-a-Sound? A Heart Beat? She doesn't ask the one paying the bill, just asks the child. Our sensible Mary Poppins didn't want those things. Whew.
"Okay," the Super-Sonic-Build-a-Bear-Sales-Person (her father was a carny-barker) said, "Go give her a bath and then go pick out her clothes." Not, "Would you care to look at clothes?" Just, "Go pick them out!" An order. An animal couldn't walk out naked? Like nature intended?
I looked at Phil. The whites of his eyes were showing all around his pupils. "Clothes?" he mouthed. I shrugged.
"I'm paying for the clothes," Mary Poppins's darling mother said. She has been there before. She recognized a shell shocked grandfather when she saw one.
Mary Poppins picked out a khaki, pleated skirt, a shirt and shoes. Shoes? Yes, shoes. Obviously a well dressed panther wears shoes on his feet but not his other feet which seem to be hands.
"I don't know why these animals need clothes," Mary Poppins's mother said. "They never stay dressed anyway."
Mary Poppins grinned. She was already planning to strip the Pawfect Pink Panther's clothes off as soon as she got home. I could tell. She will mean to re-dress her but the chances of it happening are slim. Especially when it comes time to take Pawfect to bed. Who wants to sleep with a panther with scratchy clothes and clunky shoes?
Then Mary Poppins and her mother registered the well dressed animal, Mary Poppins gave it a name. JoJo. A birth certificate was printed out and we went to pay. The clothes cost as much as the bear! Oh my stars! I looked at Mary Poppins's Mother. The whites of my eyes were now showing all around the pupils.
"I've been here before," Mary Poppins's mother said dryly. "I looked like that the first time."
I gave Mary Poppins a hug as we left the store. "Thank you," I mouthed over the top of her head at her mom.
"You're welcome," she said. "Those clothes won't stay on ten minutes," she said with half closed eyes as she slowly shook her head.
She sighed. We sighed. Mary Poppins sighed. We all sighed for different reasons and then we all departed, leaving the Build a Bear store almost $50.00 richer.
I logged onto the Build a Bear website when I got home. They have stores in every state and nineteen countries. Nineteen! Including India. I thought India had poverty unlimited. Maybe that's why. All the little stuffed animals are running around with expensive clothes made in China for pennies and the savvy woman who invented this Build-a-Bear empire is vacationing in Nassau, sipping ice cold drinks on the beach and laughing every time she hears a cash register ring another sale. She is laughing almost non-stop.
I'm sure she deserves it. Her stores are darling, they really are and Mary Poppins had a wonderful time. She got a giant sticker on her sweater, saying it was her birthday. She got to ring a big school bell and everyone in the store yelled "Happy Birthday," but I have to ask one question? Can't animals be happy being naked?
Obviously not, or the genius behind this empire would only be sipping ice water in Miami instead of whatever she pleases in Nassau or St. Maarten or whatever is the vacationing mecca this year.
Happy birthday, darling Mary Poppins and happy birthday JoJo, the Pawfect Pink Leopard. May you and Mary Poppins have great times together. We love you, Mary Poppins, forever and ever. Grandma and Grandpa