The following is reprinted by permission (mine!) that I posted on Facebook guess when? The Day After Labor Day, of course!
Dear Lord! I can’t believe so many folks posted comments on my White Shoe Pack Up Crusade! How heartwarming to see such good-spirited dialogue surrounding this deeply crucial issue. Now folks, a note of clarification here—Many seemed to think that just because it’s time for the Easter frocks to be retired, we must in turn pull out our sweaters and scarves. Although a personal wardrobe favorite, I did not don the tweed woolen blazer over a navy cable-knit turtleneck with wide-wale corduroys today. If so, you would be reading my obituary tomorrow morning. Gone today are what I like to call the “dead of summer” colors and prints, and you know what they are.
Tonight, when I lay down my head, I will give a cheer for my friend Susan Boyles, her black capri pants winning out over the white ones–willing to suffer on recess duty for the sake of her fellow man! Then I will say a prayer of thanks for Angela Stansberry, my high school friend, who can make a Fried Pie better than my Mama or Granny (did you hear that collective gasp by my family all over the South, Angela??) Angela kept the white in front of her closet for another day, vowing to wear white just because she could! How can I argue with a spirit like that? Or of Susan’s worry of bucking an all-important chapter in the script of “How things are done” in the South?
There will come a day when no one will care whether or not white shoes are on our feet in July or January. Lord willing, it won’t be for some time yet. Hopefully by then I’ll be in my tidy little Mausoleum spot, clad in season-neutral fabrics for all eternity. But word of warning: orders are to slide me in the crypt head first, so I will face my favorite Dallas hot spots: Neiman-Marcus and Northpark Center. Even when I have “gone on to Glory,” as my Granny would say, I’ll still be watching those feet come mid-September, so don’t forget that!! (Dawn Kent, in open-toe?! Your Mama raised you better than that!)
Now, before those with a Yankee up their Family tree rush to call me shallow over such pettiness as burial direction, white shoes and calendar dates, there IS a bigger canvas to this story than a shoebox.
Confession time: The true reason for me to face east from my tidy little Mausoleum spot? Not to be facing Neiman-Marcus or Northpark, although a bit of serendipity to be sure. It is so I will be FACING ALABAMA. My home. The place of my “raising.” Though I have not lived there in many years, it provided strong and sturdy roots for my heritage and ancestry, the source of great pride and my fondest memories. My dear, precious Mama and my sassy, brassy Granny, both oh so different, each instilling in me her own version of Southern heritage. Social edicts of which shoes to wear when, and the importance of using the “good china” on every occasion possible, are just a few of the tiny fibers that make up who I am.
Perhaps not that important in the big scheme of things, but even in their silliness by today’s modern standards, packing away the linen pants and white shoes on the first Monday in September just feels right. It makes me feel proud, and the cockles of my heart are warmed.
My thread in the tapestry that is the American South is tighter than ever, and for that I am forever grateful, forever blessed.