Gulp! It's that time of the year...you do remember we just bid adieu to summer with the Labor Day holiday, don't you? Well, girls, put away the white shoes and purses and start getting out the fall clothes. In theory that sounds like a great plan, but in reality there is a great deal of reality I must now face.
The storage bins are tucked neatly in the back of the closet. The clothes are snickering and tittering in the dark recesses of the corner. "I told you not to eat that Snappy Turtle," smirks the cute denim shirt with the embroidered fall leaves along the front button holes. "That last bucket of KFC really should have been enjoyed by the whole family, not just you on your way back from Wal Mart!" taunts the black and white hounds tooth pants that ZIP up the side. "Speaking of Zip's (or can't zip)" screams the pretty pink fluffy Christmas cardigan, "those burgers should be eaten by a lumber jack not a 5' tall pleasingly plump grandmother!"
"Oh, I hear you. I knew when I picked out that autumn leaf blouse that it was a mistake," I moan. I had only worn it one season and then the next year I tried it on, June was bustin' out all over and back into the storage bin it went. And that pink fluffy cardigan. What was I thinking? She sort of looked like a smart aleck to begin with. Like she was showing off in front of all the other slimming black sweaters I should have stuck with. But who would have guessed that after only ten or so pieces of divinity and few pieces of Red Velvet cake that Miss Fluffy would make Mrs. Fluffy look like giant cone of cotton candy?
I sort, I try on, I get the Gateway Rescue Mission bag ready...all those clothes and so few that I can actually wear. I used to have neatly labeled boxes in the attic. They once were in the closet, but after 5 or so years, I moved them upward. One label said, "Lose 10 lbs. to wear these". The next one said, "Saving for Posterity." And then the last, "Keep because they are pretty, but there's no hope, sister." Finally one year, I needed more room for Christmas decorations and I instructed husband, "Bring down those three labeled clothes boxes." "Why, are you going to try them on again and then not speak to me for the next 24 hours and sit around and cry and blow your nose?" he responded. "Nope, put them in the trunk of the car. They are going to Good Will," I retorted.
The next morning I circled Good Will several times before I could get up the courage to take those clothes in. They represented my hopes and dreams of a leaner body and more youthful appearance. Finally, I took the leap and jumped out of the car. "Could somebody help me get these boxes?" I asked the woman behind the register. "Sure," and she called some toothless man to help me. After his third trip, I know exactly what he was thinking, "Wow, did somebody die? I've never seen so many clothes." I thought a minute and said to myself, "Well, somebody did, sort of."
As I drove home I thought about an instance in my classroom and how a remark a senior boy once made had hurt my feelings so badly. Then all of a sudden, the remark and his explanation sounded "sweet" and somehow really funny. He had said, "Mrs. Mac, do you know what our nickname for you is?" "Oh, no," I fluttered, "what?"
He said (with merriment in his eyes), "Aunt Bea, we call you Aunt Bea ".
WHAT????? Aunt Bea??? As in Andy of Mayberry Aunt Bea??? I must have looked as horrible as I felt because he jumped up and literally ran to my desk and said, "We don't mean it bad. We love you and you're always "fluttering" around and cooking and stuff."
Oh, have mercy. Aunt Bea? I grabbed my pearls in horror! (Pearls, bun, cooking, pleasingly plump....it all came together.) I sank in my chair and everyone got quiet. They looked at me and I looked down and tried to not cry. Then I valiantly held up my head and said, "I am honored to be called Aunt Bea. Thank you very much." Everyone sighed a sigh of relief...they sure didn't want to have to give "Aunt Bea" first aid...they might have to pick her up...
I think about that "attic" year every time I begin the fall seasonal clothing exchange (the spring exchange isn't as emotional)...so this year I'm going in with a different attitude...sort of a bullet proof attitude. It'll be Sayonara to seersucker and sandals and Bonjour to some brand new clothes if the old ones won't cooperate. I say, Off with their Heads!! To the Good Will they will go to make somebody a little smaller have a happier Autumn. Bon Worth, here I come!!