Date: Tue, 6 Aug 1996 23:53:16 -0500
From: Doris Smith <dorisann@TENET.EDU>
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <WORDS-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
Yesterday morning I packed a small bag with a nightgown, change of underwear
and socks, petticoat, pantyhose, long silver necklace, silver earrings,
make-up and toiletries. On hangers I had a clean shirt and a two-piece
black and white dress, designed and made in such a way that my ample middle
and rear-end are nicely camouflauged. Wearing black jeans and a new ecru
tee, I began the 2 1/2 hour drive to my mom's apartment in San Marcos.
The trip was uneventful, and I arrived really before I realized that I
had driven that far. Listening to Dr. Laura on the radio, and watching
the thermometer creep up to a high of 101 degrees F kept my mind off the
When I arrived at my mom's I carried my bag and hanging clothes in,
along with a stack of magazines to give her.
This trip was not simply for a visit, but was so my mom and I could attend
a memorial service in Austin for an aunt who had died. As we all know,
at funerals and weddings we see cousins and cousins-removed that we seldom
see otherwise - like the cousin who writes for a big newspaper, and her husband
who owns a Pulitzer Prize for his editorial cartoons; like the cousin-removed who
lives, works, and writes in Japan; like the cousin who writes college-level
textbooks and his wife the professional photographer; like the cousin of a
cousin who plays golf with Dean Morton, and so on -- little country-cousin-from-Tomball
intends to pay her respects to the deceased aunt, keep her mouth shut so as
not to embarrass herself, but at least "look" respectable.
The memorial service was at 10:30 this morning. Since my mom is totally wheelchair
bound and has no use of her left side, I have to allow for a bit more
getting ready and getting loaded time than if I were by myself. Having
printed a map using Microsoft's Automap Streets, I had no worries about
finding our destination.
My bed last night was an electric lift chair - one of those big recliners that works
with a remote control device to assist with getting out of the chair. My mom's love
seat was too short for me to sleep on. Her air mattress takes an hour and a half of
my pumping the air into it with my foot before it is serviceable for a bed, and is too
close to the floor for me to easily get into and out of. I forgot to take a cot.
So I "slept" in her lift chair. Not much sleeping was done, however.
This morning we arose, had our coffee, and proceded to get dressed. My make-up was on,
my hair was fixed (did I tell you about the perm I gave myself a few weeks ago?),
pantyhose, petticoat, and all required under garments were on. I had enough time
to help my mom with her necklace and leg brace, and to make sure we had everything
Remembering that the last time we went to Austin at that time of morning we encountered
a horrendous traffice jam in Austin, we allowed an extra 30 minutes this morning,
and the time to depart was upon us, so after making sure that my mom was ready,
I - being "ready underneath" - went to the closet to get my nice camouflaging black and
white two-peice dress to put on.
I pulled out the hangers. Took the skirt off the hanger. Looked aghast at
the second - empty - hanger. Where was the top?
Looked on the floor of the closet. No top.
Good grief! It must have come off the hanger when I took it off the hook in the van.
Hurriedly I slipped my jeans and top on and went out to the van. Looked in the back,
under the seats, between the seats. No top.
Hmmmm. I must have dropped it in the parking lot yesterday when I carried my things in.
Went back to my mom's apartment, got the skirt, found the manager and asked if anyone
had turned in a top that matched the skirt I was holding. No, no one had.
Went back to my mom's apartment, laughing. Why was I laughing? So I wouldn't panic.
My mom wears size 8. I'm not telling you what size I wear, but it is not 8.
She remembers a dress of hers that she wore to her 50th wedding anniversay, and that
was the size that I won't reveal. It is two piece. It has a pleated skirt - showing and
emphasizing every inch that I am. The top ends at the waist - showing and emphasizing
every other inch that I am. It is long sleeved. The bodice is navy blue knit.
It is 101 degrees F. My shoes are black. My pantyhose are black.
Deciding to make sure I stand behind the wheelchair at all times when I couldn't sit,
I put the dress on, drive the van to the entrance, load my mom, load the wheelchair,
and drive to Austin, trusting my Automap Streets map, which has been cropped in order
to show only what I need to know to get to Westminster Manor.
With 30 minutes to spare, enter the portion of Austin's freeway system where I must
take the lower ramp, not the upper ramp. Uh oh! There is a traffic jam - all traffic
is having to take the upper ramp, due to a wreck on the lower ramp. What to do?
Remembering that the van has a compass, and knowing the direction I need to be going
helps a little, but when I know that I need 38th street but am slowly approaching
51st street my nerves begin to get a bit raw.
Ah! I'll look at my map!
Finding a parking lot and pulling into it, I reassure my mom that things are going
to be all right. I'll get us there. Never fear, Doris is here.
The automap, even though cropped, does indeed let me know where we are and how to get
where we need to be. Some little back allies have to be utilized, but we arrive.
To relay much more will only bore you, but despite the problems, I was able
to keep my cool, mainly so my mom would keep hers.
A couple of people - brother and sister-in-law - recognized the dress.
I sat a lot. I stood behind the wheelchair a lot. I felt dowdy a lot.
And the memorial service was different from any I've ever attended, but it was very
nice and very touching, and I'm glad I made the effort to attend.
And I'm glad to be home.
And no, the top to my dress has yet to be found.