Mum’s the Word

HoCo Learning Curve
How cute is this little singing bear?

I’m not a native Texan.

This was stunningly obvious to a fellow Hobby Lobby shopper who spotted me as I blinked at the homecoming decoration display. She touched my shoulder, smiled empathetically, and said, “Aw. Honey. You’re not from here, are you?”

This sweet stranger spent fifteen minutes talking me through how to make a mum, who gets how many flowers and what color ribbon, and the importance of personalization.

When she was done, I thanked her kindly for her help. Then I returned my empty basket to the front of the store and saw myself out. I may or may not have purchased a consolation chocolate bar first. For homecoming.

I’m okay with a glue gun. I can paint a flat surface one color. I stenciled a flower once.

But I’m not homecoming-mum-level crafty. And I’m good with that.

I found a neighbor on the Facebook who is homecoming-mum-level crafty. She owns a floral shop and she’s amazing. And patient. Which is a great thing because when I called her I spent a solid thirty minutes racing through questions:

  1. My son is going with a friend, do we still get her a mum?
  2. Why is this a thing?
  3. How does she wear it?
  4. When does she wear it?
  5. When does he give her the mum?
  6. Does he have to wear one?
  7. Why is it on a garter?
  8. Do they keep them afterward?
  9. Are the flowers real?
  10. No really, why is this a thing?

I still don’t have solid answers for #2 or #10. But we embraced the tradition, horrified our kid, and thoroughly exasperated friends and family in the process with near-daily mum texts.

I can’t wait until next year.

Published by Kell McKinney

I write middle grade and picture book stories. Member of SCBWI. Former marketing manager for a company people love to hate.

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