Birthday shopping for a soon-to-be 3-year-old doesn’t sound like something that would be all that difficult. I mean, aren’t all little boys around that age into pretty much the same things? Dinosaurs, cars, dump trucks — you know, typical stuff. Perhaps that’s why I left buying a gift until the last minute.
But, as it turns out, I was wrong. As usual …
In all honesty, I should have known better. My youngest son, Sam, has never been into the “mainstream” toys. Currently, he loves garage doors, spiders and cats.
Garage doors were out. I mean, I did look for one but apparently a toy garage with doors that go up and down just isn’t popular enough for a toy manufacturer to invest in producing mass quantities.
I can’t imagine why …
Spiders? Um, no. While I’m sure he would adore a pet tarantula — and I’m positive he would swear on everything he owned that he would never let it out of it’s cage — let’s be honest, it would totally get out out of its cage. And then I would be in the uncomfortable position of having to burn my house down.
Cats were a problem as well. I actually like cats and am not necessarily opposed to getting one. My dog on the other hand has a very different opinion on the matter.
In her 10 years with us, our old American Bulldog has earned quite the reputation as a cat killer to any poor stray who happens to wander into our (fenced) back yard. So, no cats.
That leaves … what? I was at a loss. Until one morning when I saw him pulling on his older brother’s rain boots and trying to ride the antique spring horse we have while shouting “Ye-haw! I’m a cowboy!”
A cowboy? I can handle that. So, I went off in search of cowboy stuff: Boots, a hat, a hobby horse and gun-belt.
Surprisingly enough, the thing I thought would be the most difficult to find — the hobby horse — was the easiest. First store I went to, it was sitting right there waiting for me. I even had a selection to choose from.
With renewed confidence the rest of my list would follow with similar ease, I set off to find some boots — and hit a wall.
Apparently cowboy boots are a “seasonal thing” (don’t ask me why) and are nearly impossible to find in the middle of July. I went to four different stores and struck out each time. I was also not having any luck in the hat department.
In desperation, I turned to the internet (and two-day shipping) to save me.
It took a while to find a hat but eventually I made my way over to the big craft store in town which not only had a few to choose from, but also boasted a whole section of “Wild West” themed party decorations.
I never did find the gun-belt but did pick up a scooter with training wheels in the front (which had nothing to do with cowboys, I just thought it was cool.)
Eventually, with the presents, decor and a creative “cowboy inspired menu,” I managed to put together a fairly respectable birthday party but it made me wonder why it was so difficult to begin with. Aren’t cowboys cool anymore? Or have kids all moved on to ninjas, space pilots and Army men?
Classic television shows like Roy Rodgers and The Lone Ranger have long since been replaced by the animated flavor of the month but I can’t help but feel kids today are missing that wholesome aspect that came with them.
It’s time to bring the cowboys back.
Kasie Strickland is the managing editor for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.