Thursday, July 21, 2016

Playing dress up with memories

Beginning our lives together

Next month Hubby and I will celebrate 49 years of marriage. We had not seen my wedding dress since our wedding August 26, 1967.

After the wedding, my mother had thoughtfully looked into a local dry cleaners’ advertisement to clean and secure wedding dresses in a “treasure box” that would maintain them in pristine condition.

And so it resided in its treasure box on the top shelf of the closet in my former bedroom until 2009. The dress then took up residence in our home, still unopened in its treasure box.

Hubby found the box as we were sorting what to take to our new house. He wondered had my wedding dress crumbled to dust, fallen apart or remained in good repair.

“Do you want to open it?” He left the decision to me.

With our Georgia crew arriving for a few days around July 4, I wanted to wait until our daughter-in-law and granddaughters could participate in the “grand opening.”

The day came. Anticipation thrummed through me as Hubby and DIL Sarah worked at unpacking the box. And there it was. Our wedding photos have faded with time, and I had forgotten how pretty it was.

There were, however, signs of aging. The thread that secured the seed pearls adorning the bodice had failed in places, and some of the tiny pearls were missing.

There was also a brown discoloration in a fold along the hem. We had assumed that Katrina’s wind and pine tree through the roof at the back of Mother’s house in 2005 had not damaged the front rooms, but maybe water had found its way into that box.

The seams, however, were in great shape.

Ten-year-old Charlie was entranced.

“Could I try it on, Nana,” she asked, eyes wide.

“If it is okay with your mother.”

“Sure,” Sarah responded. “It will be like playing dress up.”

Granddaughter tugs at this grandmother's heart.

I teared up, snapped photos and cried some more.

“I love it,” Charlie said. “May I wear it for my wedding?”

“Yes, that would make me so happy. But only on two conditions,” I said. “One, you can’t run off and get married, or have a quick wedding, because there are some repairs and alterations that would need to be done.

“Two, when you are ready to get married years from now (Note heavy emphasis on “years from now”), your ideas may have changed about what you want your dress to look like.”

Charlie loves designing, shopping for fabrics and sewing, from dresses to ponchos. And she has never used a pattern.

“You won’t hurt my feelings if you change your mind. Promise you will choose what you want.”

Then Mom Sarah reiterated that a wedding would be far into her 10-year-old offspring’s future--very, very far.

And after Charlie showed her dad the picture of herself in the dress, did I really hear him say “She’s not going to date until she’s 36”?

 Baboo and granddaughter share a sweet moment.


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mighty Mississippi in March—Part Two

A Mississippi River pier in Baton Rouge, La.

The rest of the story
March 17, 2016, Hubby and I arrived in Baton Rouge, La., with time to spare before our 8-year-old granddaughter’s evening performance in the musical comedy “The Boyfriend.”

We headed for the city’s downtown area for a look at the Mississippi River from a beautifully developed section of the levee. Families, couples and individuals were enjoying the mild weather. They were picnicking, cycling, walking, jogging or just relaxing in colorful Adirondack chairs.

Hubby hustled around taking photos. I was fascinated by the lines of a pier. It was a pleasure to have a camera that I could operate one-handed, plus the attractive structure also featured round railings that were perfect for allowing me to hold on and walk with confidence,

As time slipped away from us, Hubby suggested I head back toward the pier’s entrance while he captured a few more images.

At the junction of pier and levee, I took a few moments to plot a route from the security of the pier’s railings to sturdy objects that would give me a chance to hold on and make sure of my balance before continuing.

I had my trusty hiking stick, but my lower left leg and foot had started exhibiting new quirks months earlier. It may be time to consider using a walker. But that decision is for another day.

I stepped away from the pier railing and took a couple steps toward my next target. At that moment a strong squall hit. The wind almost knocked me down.

I managed to turn around and retreat toward the pier. I lurched to the railing and held on for dear life as the gusts buffeted, threatening to pry me loose.

The happy ending was we were unhurt and barely damp when we made it to Theatre Baton Rouge. There we enjoyed our little thespian’s dancing and singing as part of the ensemble cast. 

A lesson learned
When walking I'm usually focused on where to put my left foot next. I had noticed the dark clouds, evident in the photo above; but I didn’t give a thought to the possibility that they meant severe weather. 

And it was severe, though thankfully brief. I learned I must be much more aware of my surroundings. 

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mighty Mississippi in March--Part One

Pier from the east bank of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, La.

The lines of this pier begged to be photographed. I was intrigued that a pier could bring me such joy.