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Ms. Katie goes to Washington


"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is a 1939 award winning film about a naive man appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. Mr. Smith's political plans quickly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't retreat.

"Ms. Katie Goes to Washington" is a timeless tale of an innocent mother appointed to fill the role of chaperone on her daughter, Olivia’s, class field trip to our nation's capital. Ms. Katie's plans to monitor and positively influence the children she was supervising quickly becomes a comedy of errors when she makes a poorly executed wardrobe maneuver.

You know those people who are the epitome of class...the ones who always seem to dress appropriately with style… are always poised, confident, and oozing dignity… and are socially apt, aware and engaging? That’s my friend Katie.

I would classify her as both a social savant AND a social vigilante because she can strike up an intelligent conversation in any setting but also possesses an ability to politely confront someone who is behaving in a rude or disrespectful manner. She maintains her composure in either capacity and looks great while doing it thanks to her striking good looks and impeccable fashion sense.

During her daughter’s junior high years, Katie had the privilege of chaperoning a class trip to Washington DC. Single mothers rarely get to participate in these outings because they require a day off work so this was a special occasion for Katie and her daughter…experiencing the Nation's Capital together, albeit in the company of 30 unruly tweens with no appreciation for historical significance or government. True to Katie’s consistently flawless appearance, she chose an outfit for the trip that was both fashionable and practical… a black velour sweat suit with little rhinestones in the shape of a heart on the breast of the jacket and trendy running shoes. If she was going to help wrangle these heightened hormonal juveniles, she was going to do it in style.

Katie, going through a transition at the time, was temporarily living with her brother. Things were a bit hectic the morning she left for the trip to DC-there was no time to style her hair and an impatient taxi driver was waiting outside for her. Katie’s determination to enjoy this special time with Olivia would NOT be deterred by a bad hair day so as she ran out the door she grabbed one of her brother’s baseball caps. She knew how to improvise under pressure and chose to accessorize her head with a hat that matched the color scheme of her outfit-black with white lettering that in her blurred frenzy appeared to read “PUMA”, the sought after sportswear logo. If anyone can make a baseball cap look super chic, it’s Katie.

The day was filled with many teachable moments and opportunities and Katie didn’t hesitate to share her knowledge with the youngsters she had been privileged to influence that day. They toured the White House and were challenged to imagine what it must be like to live there. As they examined the Lincoln Memorial, Katie regaled them with the story of how a crowd of a quarter million people gathered at the reflecting pool in 1963 for a civil rights rally where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I have a dream speech”.

They then made their way to the Washington Monument, a perfect spot to break for lunch on this beautiful spring day. It was while sitting in the grass partaking of a picnic lunch that Olivia intently studied Katie’s baseball cap. In a somewhat nonchalant tone and with the attitude of a prepubescent 11 year old, Olivia said….”mom, I think your hat says “PIMP”.

Katie was unshaken by the accusation. She had been immersed in a sea of irreverent adolescents all day and assumed Olivia’s remark was a “made you look” prank or that her daughter was showing off for her friends. Katie calmly rebuked her daughter and said “Olivia, we don’t use words like that. Now that’s enough, finish eating your lunch”.

Overall the kids were well behaved and then rewarded with a trip to a souvenir shop before leaving DC. Katie escorted them inside and noticed one student took a particular interest in a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase “stay off the grass” and an image of giant marijuana leaf under a red “prohibited” slash. Although the shirt depicted an anti-drug message, Katie still felt it was inappropriate and something his parents wouldn’t approve of so she attempted to discourage the purchase. She tried all the usual tactics…”Think of the image you’re portraying by walking around with a marijuana leaf on your shirt”… “Would your parents want you to spend their money on something like this?”… “This “WWJD?” t-shirt would really bring out the color of your eyes and look, its $2 cheaper”…all to no avail, he was a stubborn puberty stricken boy with something to prove.

When Katie returned home that day and started to unwind from the day’s events, she removed the hat she had borrowed from her brother’s collection and looked at it closely. Those white letters across the front did not spell “PUMA”, they spelled “PIMP”, just as sweet little Olivia had pointed out earlier in the day. To Katie’s great horror she realized the hat blatantly implied she made a living procuring prostitutes and as she recalled the highlights of the day she cringed.

…when she jumped in the taxi, she was a PIMP

…while she toured the White House hoping to get a glimpse of George and Laura Bush and was likely under surveillance by the Secret Service, she was a PIMP

…while she willingly fulfilled her patriotic duty and paid her respects at the Lincoln Memorial, she was a PIMP

…while she was educating her charges about the significance of Martin Luther King’s speech at the reflecting pool, she was a PIMP

...when she sat on the grass surrounding the Washington Monument and ate lunch with a group of junior high aged impressionable children, she was a PIMP

…AND, when she tried to be the voice of reason and conviction to a young man wanting to purchase a marijuana themed t-shirt, and expressed concern for the image he would be promoting…she was a PIMP

Apparently this PIMP hat was a leftover prop from a bachelor party her brother had attended. No matter what it’s origin or how many people may have looked at this classically beautiful and sophisticated woman and snickered that day in Washington DC, the most important thing and all that truly matters is that she looked DAMN good wearing it…and her daughter’s classmates thought she was the coolest mom, ever.


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