Sunday, October 9, 2011

...a matter of style

Well, not everything.  Shoes, for instance.
And only after the really important stuff.
But hats rank pretty high.

Yesterday I posted this photo on Facebook ("sittin' on the rock of the bay").  Bill and I went to the shore to watch the Blue Angels, here for Fleet Week. 

My friend, Mary, commented, "Great shoes, but not for rock walking."

My response: "I concur. But the benches were taken. These are my sassy shoes."

After I wrote this, I remembered a moment twenty years ago. A meeting that changed my shoe-tude. 

“Alice, I defer to you,” the woman opposite me said. Everyone deferred to Alice. The Doyenne. She-Whose-Opinion-Must-Be-Given. The Sage. I quaked in my boots/flats/sandals/pumps whenever she spoke to me.
The woman prompted the aging but still razor-sharp participant. “Alice, I’m sorry.  I must not have spoken clearly.” 
Alice responded, “Oh, no, I apologize. I wasn’t paying attention.” (Quick, think, Celeste. Should you dial 911? Is this some neurological event, the dandy phrase the ER doctor used about my mother...translation: “I don’t know jack about what just happened.”)
Alice looked first into my eyes before looking down at my feet. Oh, my Lord. The woman was giving me the once-over. Then she spoke. “I missed everything you said. I'm afraid I was looking at Celeste’s shoes. I really like those.”
Bells chimed. Bluebirds of happiness circled my head. The Head Crone had spoken. She - Alice the Meaningful - was distracted by a pair of leather flats, the last ones in my size at the best shoe sale of the year.  My friend, Marsha, would not have batted an eyelash. She reigns over Shoe-dom. Even has a framed print over her closet door that reads "One shoe can change your life. Sincerely, Cinderella".

Most of my clothing is still back east. A pox on the airline with its two bag rule. For now, I have a pair black flats, an older pair of the same black flats, a pair of black patent flats, black suede booties.  A pair of Merrills and one New Balance. The afore-mentioned sassy shoes (for my non-black moments). And sandals. Alas, Dr. Bill has banned my cute thong sandals. Weep, Marsha, weep. I can wear them to lunches or early suppers that require a quick walk from the parking lot. Otherwise, these fabulous little gems have retired quietly to my closet. Alas, this is the price one pays to restore one’s back. Some would question such an extreme measure. I know several women who would resort to doomed-to-fail surgeries before giving up two pairs of Talbot’s leather flip-flops and really, really cute black and bronze Brazilian beauties.
God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will be re-united with my bronze and pewter flats, my cowboy and rain boots, and my two remaining pairs of heels (see back reference above) after Christmas. And a good time will be had by all. Including my hats.

I have two small pictures that caught my fancy a few years ago. I'll tell you about the engraving of a lady climbing into a thirties coupe, - a rear view (hers), how appropriate - with the caption, “Ready for a Road Trip”) in another blog. Today I'm thinking of the other, by the same artist, which shows a lady in the roaring twenties’ fabulous fashion. A large feather sits on top of her head and strands of pearls loop round and round her neck. The caption: “Know first who you are then adorn yourself accordingly.” Bits of my credo can be found here: first things is not optional...color outside the lines.
My granddaughter...raise them up right

M y mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Maya Angelou

Art is core to every culture.  The implements and garments of ancient cultures are not only functional but ornate. Among my treasures from personal history are crocheted bits from my Dad’s mother who died years before I was born. A hand-painted china teacup and saucer that belonged to an elderly neighbor. Tatting from my maternal grandmother. These women lived on small dirt farms in south Georgia. They survived much, including the Great Depression. And they found a way to incorporate personal expressions of beauty in their homes. Wearers of hats, all of them. It’s in the genes...

... and in my memories:  Daddy and Papa's summer Panama hats, winter Stetsons. My aunt's beautiful Sunday hats. Memories of bright summer afternoons in a lawn chair with a good book, a beach hat, and a pair of flip-flops for trips across the sand-spurred lawn. The starched lace, straw hats, and patent leather shoes of childhood Easters. My partners-in-hat-crime shown above.

...and, at least one will be found in a future blog

But first, Samille, look for "Lady Marmalade and Blue Roses" 
coming soon!


RosieJo said...

Why would you think we wouldn't want to read the whole thing?

Celeste said...

I'm honored that you did! Gave my rivah friend a heads up about "her" post coming soon!