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Essay: Rodeo Pants


So we’ve covered the academic aspect of education, the sustainability goals of one institution, but we’ve neglected another key area – back-to-school fashion, as it’s reflected in that all important kindergarten demographic.  Lake Effect essayist Mark Siegrist picks up the story from there:

It’s often said that every generation is different.

That’s only partly true.

Because here’s another expression.

What goes around comes around.

Let me explain.

I’ve always felt the parental chore of taking a five year old boy to the clothing store for a new pair of pants is like going to the rodeo.

It’s the closest most of us come to ever roping a calf.

And to borrow yet another expression - I’ve been to that rodeo a few times before…as a kid, a father, and grandfather.

I used to give my saintly mother quite a workout at a children’s clothier in Shorewood.

Kiddie Campus, as I recall.

Being forced to try on a stack of pants there would send my body into a series of contortions.

From passive resistance, to bended knee, hopping on one foot, and the classic pose of hiding under the clothing rack.

So on a recent trip to the mall with my daughter and grandson I sensed what was coming.

Especially when our conversation turned to boys’ pants.

Feeling confident that I knew all the tricks I offered to help size him up.

“Come on Max, this won’t be so bad.”

I said.

Through the  swinging half-door and into the changing corral we went.

Let the rodeo begin.

We hopped, skipped, and a few times even lost our balance.

Not quite a blue ribbon performance, but entertaining enough.

In fact a small gathering of sales associates, curious moms and kids were taking it all in.

Six changes and 15 minutes later we both emerged with our dignity, and a couple of new pants for the road.

On the way out my daughter Holly could only smile.

“I’m surprised he was so good.”

She told me.


I asked.

“Because I had him try on eight pairs of pants this morning.”

Moms don’t change that much either.

Lake Effect essayist Mark Siegrist is a television producer in Milwaukee.