I sat outside Sunday morning, enjoying coffee, chirping birds, and breezes rustling leaves in the trees; a thoroughly delightful time. There is a church across the street, and as people were arriving for services, I became fascinated at how certain things have changed over the years.
Specifically, I pondered the manner in which people dress for church these days. Having come of age in the 1960’s, and experiencing the evolution, or actually devolution of fashion over time, I do not know why anything surprises me anymore. But, I admit there was a moment sitting out there that the differences between then and now made me utter to myself, “Will you look at that.”
And the change that jolted me? A busload of senior citizens arrived, and as they climbed out of their vehicle, I saw all but three of those little white haired ladies were wearing jeans and athletic shoes. I knew people have been wearing jeans to church for a long time, but I also knew seniors had been holdouts, ladies still wearing dresses, men wearing suits and ties. Sometimes if they went more casual, ladies donned slacks and sweaters, the men wore slacks and sports jackets, without ties. And they all wore leather dress shoes. Not a sport’s shoe to be seen on a single senior foot.
Wondering what happened led me straight to that faithful means by which I get most of my life answers; the old reality check. And this reality is, a great many seniors today are no longer my parents’ age, but my age. Baby Boomers. Therefore, it should not be a shock to me that they would wear jeans to church. I know as soon as I walked away from high school and its dress code restrictions, I started wearing denim, and have not stopped, since.
And note to Self: I, too, have white hair, so those people coming off that bus were not some distant generation, especially identified and defined by hair color; they were most likely me, only someone else. That’s right Self; senior, white haired, Baby Boomer in jeans. Me.
Still thinking about the changes in fashion, and church goers in jeans instead of dresses, it did not take me long to remember I do not own a dress. And I do not know when I last owned one. That tells me it has been a long time. Just a few years back, I wore slacks everyday to work, and dressed in denim or sweatpants at home. Now that I am retired, I not only never think about dresses, I do not give a nanosecond’s thought to slacks anymore, either. For a while, those pants hung in my closet gathering dust, until one day I packed them away and sent them to storage. Good. All uncomfortable, impractical clothes were finally gone from my life.
A couple years passed, and then I realized, funny as it was at the time, and much to my surprise, something could be lost in doing away with particular items of apparel. That is correct. Who ever would have been impacted by the absence of someone wearing something? The answer is so simple. A child. Children are impacted by everything, because they miss nothing.
And so it was, this spring my youngest grandchild was participating in some testing at his pre-school in Alaska. Since he is four years old, and not yet reading, his teacher was asking him the questions, showing him pictures, and recording his answers. He was responding perfectly to each question, until she showed him a picture that had him stumped for a few moments.
It is important to understand the context of the predicament in which he found himself. Alaska truly is our country’s last frontier. In Southeast Alaska, it is forest, mud, ocean, rain, and snow, with a few days of sunshine thrown in just to keep the populace off balance. I have mentioned before, in that environment, one wears jeans, flannel, heavy socks, and Xtratuf Boots for most every occasion. And that is how my grandson has seen his mom clothed for all of his four years.
With that having been said, the item that had our little guy scratching his head, and puzzling for a few moments was a picture of a dress. After a bit, his little light went on, and he told his teacher he knew what it was. It was a picture of a princess uniform. That’s right. A princess uniform. Obviously, anyone who wore a garment so beautiful had to be a princess.
As this current season in which I find myself progresses, and life journeys continue up some challenging paths, I am sensing the need for a few good changes, ones that are beneficial, that make the soul a little lighter, a little happier. And the more I think about it, this might be just the right time to go buy someone a new dress. Dresses are pretty, flattering, feminine. And, after all, who wouldn’t want to feel like a princess one more time?