When I traveled to Branson with my daughter’s choir when she was in elementary school , all of the kids and adults wore the same t-shirt. This was for a couple of reasons. One, safety. When all the kids and adults are wearing the same shirt, everybody can identify someone from their party very quickly. Kids may not know all of the adults by name or face, but the t-shirt lets them know that the adult is with them and safe, and it lets the adults know that a kid should be with an adult if they’re not. Two, SPIRIT!!!! When we all had the same shirt with the choir name and some fun sort of picture with it, we had a sense of pride and spirit in our musical organization.
Enter the Wilson-Burns family, specifically, my wife. Jennifer is an idea person. She gets an idea unbeknownst to me, and a package arrives in the mail knownst to me (Spaceballs – Opening title scroll – Unbeknownst to the princess but knownst to us, danger lurks in the stars above) because I expensed the money from our budget before I knew what it was. In this case, I learned of this purchase from Facebook when my wife posted these four superb t-shirts.
You’ll notice that each red shirt has a Micky or a Minnie Mouse ear cap depending on the gender identity of the family member along with the title of the family member: Mom, Dad, Big Sister, and Little Brother. This is crucial because when we wear these t-shirts, and we will wear them, on the trip, people will need to know why we are all wearing the shirts. These titles will let people know that we are, in fact, a nuclear family consisting of a mother, father, brother, and sister. It also sends a signal that “Hey” this family is serious enough about having good old-fashioned American fun that it’s mother spent money on matching t-shirts. People will know that the Wilson-Burnses still believe in something: they believe in commemorating an important family event with family fashion.
The truth is that we’ve never bought family t-shirts before, but this trip is special. Jennifer and I have been promising Disney for years. Now we have an adult child (excuse me while I say the word: AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!) and a sixteen-year-old. They’re a little old to wear the mousey hats and ride the teacups. We’ve ridden the teacups before when that were tiny, ickle (see Harry Potter) babies. It’s the last time I will ever ride a spinny ride. And so we must do it. We must go to Florida. We may take family trips in the future, but this one will be the last of it’s kind. We will all wake up in the same house. We will all be covered under the same insurance. We will all be eating food that Jenn and I bought to feed to our children. It will not be long (God willing) that our children will move out and buy food for themselves.
I do have concerns about these t-shirts which I have been reluctant to mention. I don’t want to create any undue concern. Once upon a time, my parents took me and my brothers to Disney World and we had a red t-shirt situation. Paul and I were riding in the back of our Ford Fairmont station wagon on blankets and pillows as we did in those days when my dad directed our attention to what seemed like an absurd sign on the side of a six-lane freeway. It was a billboard with a cartoon cow on it. The sign read something like “Caution: Cow Crossing!”
I say absurd because the idea of a cow crossing a six-lane freeway is absurd. In what timeline of the Universe should a cow be allowed to walk ever-so-leisurely across a six-lane freeway? (WARNING: Dad Jokes) I mean, really, I know it’s called a free way, but this is ridiculous! It’s a little too free, if you catch my drift. It’s bull pucky. I don’t know cow this situation got so out of hand! Think about it. One day, a cow got free of it’s pasture and wandered on to the freeway. A truck smashed it into ground chuck and caused damage to the truck. The next day, the same thing happened again. A cow walked out on the free way. Made it across three lanes before a half a dozen cars swerved to miss it. So they have two options: 1.) Post a sign 2.) Or mend the FLIPPIN’ FENCE.
So anyway, not a minute after we laughed over the absurd sign, we saw traffic stopped on the freeway and lo and behold there was a big-ass bull in the middle of the road. My dad stopped. The bull was two lanes from our car and it’s horns, in my memory, were aimed right at us. Also in my memory, it was scraping it’s hoof on the road like in the cartoons right before it charges. I looked over at my brother, and he was wearing a RED T-SHIRT. Now any kid who watches Looney Toons or somesuch knows that bulls HATE RED. It sends their blood a’boiling. Quietly, but urgently I said “Get down, Paul! You’ve got a red shirt. He might see it.” Obediently, and fearfully he sunk down onto the floor of the back seat where he stayed until the bull passed.
Now, I think there’s a pretty good chance we will be passing that same way, and so I insist that we wait until we get to the park to wear these shirts which identify us as serious all-American family vacationers. Look for a post for the Wilson-Burnses wearing the t-shirts very soon!