Thursday, January 28, 2010

And Then What Happened

Our friend Cee died last Friday. So, not weeks, but days, unless you count the preceding 16 months. She was 46.
Getting dressed for the funeral on Monday, I thought, well, it's a good thing it's cold out, since my only black dress that's not a Little Black Dress wouldn't be too comfortable on a hot day.
Then I wondered if I had a hat that would go with it, since I've always wanted to wear a fabulous black hat with a veil. Then I wondered what the hell I was thinking.

I left the house a little late. I really wanted a hat. The only one I could find in my box of vintage stuff was a little 50's headband-type thingie, too Vegas cocktail lounge for a southern funeral. Especially a Lutheran funeral.
Five minutes into the 1 1/2 hour drive and my bottom lip is already doing that spastic thing it does when I'm trying not to cry.
I should have worn the headband thing. It even had a little veil. Cee loved hats. Maybe the navy blue velvet one. Didn't I have a red cloche somewhere? Dammit, I need a fabulous hat. She would have loved it, and I owe it to her to wear one. Because face it, I am not going to be able to sustain emulating her in any other way -- she was organized, driven, positive, athletic, successful, and never even glanced over her shoulder at the past -- but by God, I can and will wear hats.

No, I cannot turn around, because my dithering has caused me to cut the time a little too fine.

By now I am imagining something akin to that huge serving platter hat Kate Winslet wore in Titanic. With maybe a few more plumes, and some artificial fruit and birds.

Some women hereabouts wear traffic-stopping hats to church on a regular basis. This is a benefit of living in the South. I may not wear them to church, but I know where I can find them, you betcha. So, as I pass the shopping center and see Belks [department store] I know what I have to do.

I am going to find me a hat. I am going to go in there and find the foofiest Sunday-go-to-meeting hat they have, if it matches my outfit, and I will buy it, and when I get to the church people will raise their eyebrows at me. And I will square my shoulders and sail on in and they will know that I am thinking,"Shut up! She would have loved this hat, and you know it."


As I pull into the parking lot my phone rings. It is my husband, asking if I have left the house yet and if I am bringing the shoes, to which I reply yes, I have and no, because he told me he'd found a pair of shoes. Well, they're Dad's and they don't really fit, have you really left the house?

By that last question you can tell that we have been married eighteen years and he knows me pretty well. "I'm already passing Belks now," I lie as I ease into a parking space. "Can't go back. Bye."

Can I find and purchase the hat in under 5 minutes? Of course. God will help me, because God wants me to wear that hat. He will lead me to it. It will be there, fabulous, the first thing I set my eyes on.

Except, of course, Belks doesn't open for another hour.

As I pull away I toy with the idea of a detour to the mall, and then tell myself to stop being ridiculous and get your ass to the funeral. If God wants you to have a hat he will have to drop it onto your head. Step on the gas, girl.

No one seemed to notice that I wasn't wearing a hat.

PS The other great moment involved the minister cracking a diet Mountain Dew in the pulpit to toast Cee. It came very close to being a Chuckles the Clown moment. I'm wondering if she paid him to do it.

Myrna Loy would have kicked ass at a funeral. Even Lutheran ass.


  1. I am sorry about the dog. I did not know the girl, but I am sorry about that too. I am also sorry Chan is going to hell with the cats. He seems to like George, who is definitely going down on a greasy pole. So, there will be company.

    I think hats at funerals are entirely appropriate and should be large enough that the person behind you is annoyed. (I personally look incredibly goofy in hats and rely on others to carry the style along. My face seems to disappear underneath them as if something in the bowl of the hat is sucking my face up into it. I will occasionally wear a straw one just because I am 47, damn it, and I think I am old enough to pull it off. You, however, are a hat aficionado and I stand in awe of this.

  2. You were absolutely right to stop for the hat. Belks will not ever recover. They should have been open; they missed a cosmic moment. I'm not as sure about the Mountain Dew, but anything that can make me remember a funeral with fondness, I have to think is a pretty good idea. Love to you.