Friday, May 24, 2013

Where Would We Be Without WAWA?

      This is the weekend when we get to pretend that summer is here!

      We forget that the calendar tells us that summer starts officially on June 21. Those of us in the Northern states try to forget that we still have to go to school for another two, three or even four weeks while our Southern friends gleefully post on Facebook that school is out or just about out.

      It's the weekend for parades and ceremonies to honor our armed forces and remember the price that has been paid for our freedom and liberty.

      It's the weekend to drag out the grill from its winter hibernation and enjoy some good old all American hot dogs and hamburgers. Old school basic with chips and soda or Pinterest-palooza with all those new recipes you've been stashing away for summer picnic feasts!

      It's a weekend to hopefully find some time to enjoy a little down time with family and friends, appreciating and being grateful for all we have been blessed with in our country. We might even reflect on some of the things that make our country, our state, our region wonderful.

     Like WAWA. Yes, it's true. I'm a fan. Not quite an addict, but definitely a fan. And so is my family, especially if the day has just been one of those too busy to actually get anything prepared in the line of meals days when I announce, "OK, I think tonight will have to be a WAWA night."

     Now, I know that friends from my corner of the world are quite possibly nodding heads in total agreement. And my friends from other areas are peering at the screen asking, "What in the world IS Wawa?"

     Wawa could possibly be described as a corner store . . . on steroids. The hub of the neighborhood, the mecca of snacks and sandwiches, treats and beverages. Coffee. Hoagies. On Amoroso rolls. A gallon of milk when we're out . . . again. Bread and other grocery items if you want the convenience and don't mind the extra cost. Donuts and muffins. Smoothies. Soup and sides. Wraps and salads and breakfast sandwiches. Tastykakes. Countless varieties of chips and cold drinks. Gas at great prices. Great food to go. And people holding the door for each other.

     Really. I haven't found any other place that I frequent where this phenomena occurs like it does at Wawa.  It's part of the Wawa culture. No one would think of entering or exiting Wawa without holding the door for the person behind them. Seriously. I've been watching this happen consistently at Wawa for years now and finally realized why - everyone is so happy at Wawa that the endorphins are just buzzing and harried and hurried people become pleasant and polite! What a bonus side to go with your Turkey and Provolone with light mayo and oil Shortie!

     Do not even try to talk to me about Sheetz or Turkey Hill or 7 - Eleven. Or whatever your neighborhood mega corner store chain is. They just can't compare. Yes, I've been heard to say that Sheetz is just Wawa's evil stepbrother. (!) I told you I'm a fan. I grew up on Wawa and loyal I will stay.

      It's good to have something that can bring out the happy in people for awhile. Even better if  it's as simple as a great cup of coffee and a package of Peanut Butter Tandytakes.



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Of Princesses and Proms

      Drive down any neighborhood street on a Saturday evening in May and you will quite possibly pass an ensemble of high school students, posing for photos, decked out in an array of fabulous color and finery quite unlike their daily dose of jeans and hoodies. Hands usually tossing a football nervously slide a delicate corsage onto the wrist of the beauty before him. Fingers that normally twist hair strands or practice piano wrestle to pin a boutonniere just right onto his tux lapel. Parents look on, snapping photo after photo, trying to capture the perfect pose, the perfect background, the perfect smile, wondering how this baby girl or boy is suddenly looking amazingly grown up, climbing into their car and driving off without them . . . .

     I think my son spent all of one hour getting ready for his junior prom. He probably was even out playing football with some of the guys that afternoon. It's no big deal for the guys - shower, shave, don the tux, grab the corsage and head out. Prince Charming in sixty short minutes - voila!
     Oh but the Princesses. They've been thinking about this night for years! The dress, the hair, the make up, the shoes, the jewelry. . . the Prom! Oh wait, it's just Prom. Not THE Prom. I date myself calling it "THE" Prom which is what it was when I was in Princess mode. Now it's just "Prom". And coming with an ever so much higher price tag . . . but that's another story.

    It really is something to see the transformations of these teenagers, isn't it? They can be schlepping their way down the hall, down the street, down the mall, and then for this one night they are coming down the stairs like something out of a classic Hollywood movie on the big screen, teetering on the that fine line between childhood and adulthood. When my daughter and her friends descended the grand staircase at a gracious friend's home, there was a collective parental gasp at the gorgeous girl/women before us. She was gorgeous in a gown of orange and gold, sparkling accents, long, lovely tresses of curls cascading over her shoulders and a smile of delighted joy. Fairy Godmother had indeed done her job well. 

      The Princess phenomenon that seems larger than life these days is an interesting philosophy. Now, don't get me wrong. One of my very favorite family vacations was our first trip to Disney World. We'd waited until our kids were old enough to truly enjoy the experience and not be one of the countless tantrum throwing toddlers that we actually did make a game of counting by simply all turning to each other and saying "5" or whatever number screamer it was for that day. I believe we hit 13 one especially humid day in Animal Kingdom.

     I'm not ashamed to say that when my daughter and I wormed our way to a spot near Cinderella's Castle for the afternoon show and the lovely ladies in their trademark gold, blue and pink gowns glided onto the stage, I was the first one to say with genuine excitement, "Look, there they are!" swept up in the magic that invites everyone in the park to believe that dreams really do come true.

     And for one enchanted night, juniors and seniors across the country get a chance to become their own version of a prince or princess at Prom. Do the girls get much more into all the planning and primping and princessing? Pretty much . . . but don't deny the guys their pride in how well they clean up. There's just something about a tux that turns even the least likely prince candidate slick and suave. It's dress up at its finest and another rite of passage for these on the brink of adulthood teens.

     Putting the cost and the scary after prom escapades aside, another challenge remains. As most of life is, princess mode must still be all about balance. The balance between external beauty and internal character. The balance between creating a lovely evening and not breaking the bank to do so. The balance between enjoying having all eyes upon you as you descend the stairs and taking the time to care for those at the party who need a kind word, a sincere compliment, a brave come alongside, an invite into the circle. The balance between daring to dream great dreams and looking realistically at how God has wired you and finding how He can best use you to make a difference in this full of scary escapades world.

     And those are the Princesses now and in the upcoming years who best deserve our cries of delight of  "Look! There they are!"