The hunter and huntress left us yesterday before school let out. Their camo clad Daddy checked them out. I ( I teach at their school) went over to the office to smooth it all over – so Trent and Molly would be excused and everything. Friday seventh period is a bit of a farce at our school. I went into Molly’s class to get her as the middle school secretary was at her lunch break. Now, you know you are in Alabama when I asked Molly’s teacher if I might check her out and the class starts asking, “Molly, are you going hunting?” Yeah, it’s another world if you don’t live here, though I must add that Molly may be the cutest huntress in the USA. I think her interest was birthed when our professional hunter ( yes they exist) friend took Trent hunting in Texas and put him on TV. Molly decided then and there, she was into hunting, too. He will not find a cuter, more personable co-host, up to date on all the new product lines of his sponsors. Molly is a walking PR and sales team. Anyway, with our others gone to Eufala to hunt the high fence – that’s hunting lingo for – a place with lots of sort of caged in big bucks – tv footage bucks, the middles and I decided to treat ourselves to a big-girl day. They wanted to go to breakfast – well brunch – their favorite meal. They named all the chains that their unfortunate suburban life has offered them. I knew we could do better. I am small town and as an ex-restaurant owner, I always try to shop local. It’s better and a better experience. So, since my girls are able to appreciate more than the slide at McD’s now, I suggested, Klingler’s Bakery. Shout out to Klingler’s. If you are ever in B’ham. It is must go. It is German food and pastries and it is phenomenal. I told the girls that when I first moved to town, married but childless, their aunt and I ( also childless) spent many hours at Klingler’s. They wanted to know everything on the menu that we had ever eaten..Most everything qualified. We ordered and they raved at every detail: the fresh flowers, the sweet waitress, the beautiful plates of food, the art on the walls, the pictures of the Klingler children during high school. And the food knocked them over. They were indeed ready for the next phase of dining out – something beyond chicken fingers and balloons at any and all restaurants. I took them down to Homewood, the most gracious part of B’ham. We walked the beautiful shops that so remind me of home, Athens, Ga – the finest place on earth. They spent hours just looking at wondrous art/design pieces and offering who would love this and that. We enjoyed jewelry and linens and soaps far better than the 20 for $5.00 kind my filthy household uses. We ooohed over pottery ( which I love) and blown glass which Sarah, my 14-year-old promises to learn to make me while in college, as an art major, preferably at a women’s college in NC or VA. And Meghan, who has never wavered on her desire to go to Georgia Tech like her grandfathers, and who is so very interested in architecture and design, took myriads of mental notes as we examined exquisite furnishings and decor. And then I did it. I let them go.in… the Pink Tulip, the boutique that I knew would floor them. I let them enter and at once walk away from me. It is not an inexpensive place to shop. I shopped there when we first came to Birmingham. It was what I had long known… if by other names in other locales. Fine fabrics and designs and well, you know… beautiful clothes. I knew that by this fall they had grown large enough (barely) to wear the clothes. I also knew how they would look in them…beautiful. I knew before we entered I would forego something that I had planned on and buy them a dress here, if we could find one not too expensive, that fit them well. I let them try anything that seemed acceptable, even a few above our budget which would perhaps be on sale after Thanksgiving. They conceded to my wisdom that they were still growing and in as much we would not buy many boutique dresses until they stopped. Then, I would buy them what they needed. So, for an hour or so we tried on dresses in fabrics they had never felt much less owned, designs so much more ingenious than those at Target or Old Navy, our typical haunts. They looked not adorable, but like a million bucks. Sometimes you do get what you pay for. My girls, 14 and almost 13, could have stepped off the curb from Stamford or UAB or Birmingham Southern. The dresses were appropriate and beautiful and set off my girls’ great figures. We bought their favorites…they thanked me ten times each…for the dress and for the vote of confidence.