Funereal Fashion

After leaving the funeral home, I had to consider the next thing I never considered; funeral attire. Thank goodness my SIL thought to have my brother ask me.

I had plenty of black tops because New York/Music/Rebel black-is-slimming has been my legitimate style. So much so, that when I moved to Nashville, someone finally asked me if I ever wore anything but black. “Oh, yeah,” I’d said. “Navy blue and brown. Sometimes gray!”

Tennessee brought other colors into my wardrobe. Michigan helped with that, as well. There was a problem with my new palates, though. I no longer owned any black pants.

I was never fond of shopping to begin with. If I end up in a store it’s usually because I am looking for a specific item. Or it’s Kohls because they sent me a $10 coupon and a 30% off flyer sticker and a new clearance shirt is never a bad purchase.

But, luckily, that day I was numb and it was Sears, in the mall, because we were driving by it anyway. I wasn’t expecting much luck or fashion at size 24. Amazingly enough, the dowdy plus size section had plenty of black pants options.

I grabbed three pair, tried them on, took the least offensive and was ready to go. That was the day I earned a new moniker from my brother.  “You’re like a Ninja Shopper!” he exclaimed.

That made me laugh. Jeff shared the same observation but not with a title. To Jeff Lowe’s and Walmart were like exhibit changing museums to be indepthly explored, each and every visit. “Slow down,” he’d call from his cart. “We might miss something!”

I’m a fast shopper, unless it’s an antique store or a flea market.  I have almost endless patience for those. But, I’m also usually hoping to take home a salt-chicken. Or two, if there’re two to be found.

I had a fairly dressy black shirt, fairly fitted, point-collared and pinstriped. I thought nothing of it, at the time. Later, when I was willing some of my 20’s weight-loss wardrobe to a friend, I pulled it from the back of the closet and gave that away, too.

Even later, as in late-2019, I was jotting down outline notes, when it occurred to me.

The blouse I wore was black, of course.

Detailed with finely dispersed, shimmering gold pinstripes.

Unintentionally, black and gold. Which were, intentionally, our wedding colors.

Quote for the Week: 2020 04 28 sticking with what you know jakorte

 

Rough Track

We went to the race track in 2006. It had been a few years since Jeff had been to a race. When he expressed the desire to go, I said, “Yes.” I worried about how we’d get around. Jeff refused to take his wheelchair. “Nah. You’ll see,” he said. “It’ll be fine.” We brought his cane along, but he was sure he wouldn’t need it, so he left it in the car.

Jeff’s standard outfit was fashion-backward, hot as hell (in a sweltering, not sexy way), but necessary. Cargo shorts, because pockets. A well-soft, well-worn Dale Earnhardt Sr. or Dale Earnhardt Jr. t-shirt for comfort, and loyalty. Suspenders to counter-act his heavy pockets.  One of many, many ball-caps to keep the heat off and absorb forehead sweat. Suspenders; because without them, Jeff would tell you, “I’d lose my shorts!”  

He used to laugh at the kids with the saggy pants below their butts, saying, “I’ve spent my entire life trying to keep my pants up!” None of them ever back-talked to Jeff. The tone of his voice made it obvious he was having fun, and they’d just joke along with him.

From the bottom up, like an oddly layered beige clothing trifle: Light brown man-sandals (think Birks), flesh-colored no-show compression socks, which obviously, were showing. From the ankle up, two ace-bandages (four in all) covered each of his tree-trunk legs to his knees, holding gauze against his ulcers. They somewhat helped keep swelling reduced, but not as well as the lederhosen-like compression hose he constantly wore at home. 

One of the wraps came undone as we walked through the merchandise trailer corridors. As soon as we found a seat, we replaced the gauze and rewound the fabric. It wasn’t easy for either of us. It’s hard to ignore the side-mouth talkers, the stares and the looks of disgust. It wasn’t pleasant to watch Jeff remove the goopy bandages and patches. It wasn’t pleasant for me to replace them, either. In those moments, Jeff hated being at the track in his condition, and sadly commented, “I guess I’m pretty gross, huh?”

The experience was hard for him. It simultaneously brought back great memories and evoked longing – of other times that were shared with family and friends, of other times when everything (especially walking) was easier, of other times it was effortlessly more fun. For Jeff, this pilgrimage came with a hefty dose of reality. It was the marker that made him see himself in a way he hadn’t before. Staring defeatedly at the ground, he mumbled, “I guess we should just go home.” Jeff’s heart was breaking, and that shattered mine.

Quote for the Week:

2018 09 25 life is made of so many layers jakorte