Last week, I made an extra trip to Walmart, and I stopped by again. Mom's on the way, you know, and conveniently located at the edge, where I don't even have to get out of T-Hoe. I talked about how we were making the long drive to meet The Pony and get him safely home for the holidays. How I was on my way to pick up Christmas supplies. How I miss her this time of year. Just a short visit. The radio was playing Christmas music, and I was in the holiday spirit.
I went over to Bill-Paying Town to get some stocking stuffers at the 24-hour Walgreens. Mom liked to go there with me, but she was most often hosting the boys at her house while I did that chore when they were young. In later years, we'd just drop in there for fun, to see what they might have on sale.
I hadn't been to this Walgreens since last Christmas, so I grabbed one of their tiny carts and started to the candy aisles. I made a wrong turn at the first one, because it was just regular candy, not holiday candy. I was going on down to the end, to loop around to the next aisle, when something on the right caught my eye.
Anyhoo...I found just the candies I needed, including a couple of foil-wrapped chocolate pennies the size of a dessert plate. I don't care how old my kids are. They still like to receive stocking loot. With my shopping trip a success, I put my bags in the car and recorded my debit card purchase in the checkbook (you're WELCOME, any cranky people behind me in line). I buckled up and turned the key and it was 11:11 on the digital clock. Huh. One of you might find that interesting.
Later that evening, I was warming up a pot of chili in the kitchen, talking to Hick, who was in the living room. He had picked up the mail, and said there was a letter for The Pony from OU. I looked at it on the counter, and it was to the PARENTS OF The Pony. So I opened it. It was about the new Residential College that was just completed this year. The Pony had spoken highly of it since he enrolled, as it was a chance to live on campus his second year, and not fight for a parking space tooth-and-nail like prospective brides over frocks in Filene's basement.
Over Thanksgiving, The Pony said he might just get an apartment off campus, since the cost of the RC was almost double that of other housing. He knows how much money is in his college fund. Even his National Merit scholarship doesn't cover housing past the first year. We tabled the issue for further discussion before deadlines loom.
"Oh, this is about the Residential College. I've been thinking about that. The Pony REALLY was set on living there, until he compared the costs."
Hick came into the kitchen to look at the letter.
"Yeah. I'd feel better knowing that he was on campus, and not a mile away."
"Those apartments have that shuttle that runs every 20 minutes. But he said he was going to get a bicycle. I can't see him riding a bike to class every day. And what would he eat? I can't imagine him shopping for groceries. And Papa John's is over by campus!"
"I know. To me, he would be better off in the Residential College."
"I don't want to think that The Pony changed his mind to the apartment because of trying to save money and not make us feel bad. We can swing it. Ever since my mom left us that money, I knew we wouldn't have to worry about the boys' college."
The light over the sink blinked off, then on. The same light that went off for five minutes when I was standing in that exact same place, talking to Hick about Genius's college account at the credit union, which was down to the money my mom put in for him when he was a toddler.
I looked at the light and reached up my arms. "I know! The Pony can live there if he wants to. Got it, Mom."
On the other hand...maybe we just need an electrician.